A Turkish court recently accepted the existence of the Right to
be Forgotten for the first time (2014/4-56 E, and 2015/1679 K,
dated 17 June 2015). The Assembly of Civil Chambers of the Court of
Appeal held that the right includes digital data, as well as
non-digital personal data kept in publically accessible mediums.
The digital aspect of this decision adopts and applies a similar
scope as was granted by the Court of Justice of the European Union
in its decision about Google.
The case at hand involved a claim that the personal rights of a
sexual assault victim had been infringed. A criminal case was filed
regarding the assault and the defendant was found guilty. During
the hearings, the claimant/victim gave explicit descriptions of the
assault, which were included in the decision's text. After the
proceedings, an academic book was published, containing certain
decisions by the Court of Appeal, including the case at hand. The
names of the claimant/victim and defendant were not censored in the
book. Accordingly, the claimant initiated the case at hand, seeking
non-pecuniary damages for violation of her personal rights.
The first instance court partially accepted the case, holding
that exposing the claimant's name would not benefit the
publisher. The parties appealed this decision to the Court of
The Court of Appeal specifically considered Article 13 of Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European
Union, which states that "The arts and scientific
research shall be free of constraint. Academic freedom shall be
respected." The Court of Appeal held that in these
circumstances, academic freedom should be preferred over personal
rights. Therefore, the Court of Appeal ruled that no infringement
of personal rights had occurred.
However, the first instance court insisted on its previous
ruling, meaning the case was referred to the General Assembly of
Civil Chambers ("Assembly"). The Assembly noted the
necessity of creating a fair balance between academic or artistic
freedom and fundamental personal rights. The Assembly held in this
context that the right to privacy, a fundamental personal right,
should be preserved.
The Assembly adopted and applied the same scope for the digital
aspects of the Right to be Forgotten as was determined by the Court
of Justice of the European Union in the Google decision. However, the Assembly
also held that the right to be forgotten applies to non-digital
personal data which is stored in mediums which are easily
accessible by the public.
Accordingly, the Assembly held that academic publications should
not expose personal data unless it is in the public's best
interests, due to being of great public importance or high
interest. It held that the case at hand failed to meet this
threshold and accordingly the claimant is entitled to non-pecuniary
General Assembly of Civil Chambers, 2014/4-56 E., 2015/1679
K. dated 17 June 2015
Information first published in the MA | Gazette, a fortnightly legal
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