Legal responses to 'Terrorist Speech' : a critical evaluation of the law in Turkey in light of regional and international standards

Cengiz, Ilyas (2016) Legal responses to 'Terrorist Speech' : a critical evaluation of the law in Turkey in light of regional and international standards. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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Much scholarly attention has focused on the incremental extension of criminal liability for ‘terroristic speech’ (reflecting the widely acknowledged preventive turn in criminal law). This thesis examines the case law of Turkey's Yargıtay (Court of Cassation) and Constitutional Court on 'terroristic speech' in the light of regional (the European Court of Human Rights), and international (Human Rights Committee and CERD) standards. While this corpus of human rights law has obtained some positive traction in Turkey (resulting, for example, in the passage of a number of progressive Constitutional amendments), it is argued that the modern day regulation of 'terroristic speech' resembles in many ways the now outmoded offence of 'sedition' for silencing political dissent. It must of-course be recognized that Turkey has experienced a protracted conflict, and that recent ‘terror’ attacks in European capital cities have reinvigorated the international ‘War on Terror’. At a deeper level, however, this observation evidences a troubling state of affairs, for, even in this ‘human rights era’, the imposition of far-reaching restrictions on speech continues seemingly without contradiction. Indeed, in many cases, the relevant criminal law offences, especially those pertaining to indirect incitement, were themselves been introduced at the behest of international instruments such as the UN Security Council Resolution 1624 (2005); the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism, 2005; and the European Union Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism, 2008. It is argued that the regulation of ‘terroristic speech’ epitomizes the state-centricity of human rights norms; (a phenomenon which Leigh and Lustgarten colourfully describe as assigning ‘the safekeeping of children in a school playground to a pit-bull terrier’). Moreover, it also reflects the fundamental inability of the international community to agree upon a definition of ‘terrorism’. The thesis thus draws on recent scholarship (Stampnitzky) to chart the ‘invention’ of ‘terrorism’ as a fundamentally political term involving moral judgment. It is argued that the infusion of this political concept into legal reasoning is inherently problematic. The binary nature of ‘terrorism’ belies the more spectral nature of ‘political violence’, and it is the latter which ought to inform a more nuanced judicial response to ‘terroristic speech’.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2016 09:55
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2016 09:55


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