European Court of Human Rights, Kutlular v. Turkey, 29 April 2008


This case law summary was developed as part of the Disaster Law Database (DISLAW) project, and is not an official record of the case. 

Geographical Area
Europe and Central Asia
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
Case Name
Kutlular v. Turkey
Case Reference
Application no. 73715/01
Name of Court
European Court of Human Rights
Decision and Reasoning
The Court held unanimously that there had been a violation of the applicant’s rights under Article 10 (freedom of expression).

The Court noted that in reading religious meaning into a natural disaster such as the Marmara earthquake, and suggesting the reason why it occurred was due to the failure of the population to worship God, was capable of spreading false beliefs “superstition, intolérance et obscurantisme”. Nevertheless, the Court held that even though the language was offensive and shocking, the applicant had not incited violence or had he stirred hatred against people who did not belong to his community. The Court found that the applicant’s conviction had been disproportionate to the aim it pursued. The Court unanimously held that Article 10 had been violated.

The Court held that given its’ finding under Article 10 there was no need to examine Article 14.
Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the Court awarded the applicant €5,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.