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Dogan’s rights violated – Turkey Constitutional Court

Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled in favor of former retired General Cetin Dogan, who faced coup charges, saying his rights had been violated, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

Dogan was among more than 300 military officials who were convicted in 2012 for allegedly taking part in a coup plot named “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer), in 2003. The coup plot was aimed at overthrowing the government of the then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The “Balyoz” plot included the bombing of two major mosques in Istanbul, an assault on a military museum by people disguised as religious extremists, and triggering a war against Greece through an attack on a Turkish plane.

On 20 January 2010, reports of the alleged plot surfaced in the liberal Taraf newspaper, which has since closed. The extensive information and documents received by the daily were passed on to prosecutors and formed the bulk of the prosecution’s case.

All military officials accused of being involved in the plot were freed in 2014 after the Constitutional Court found that the trial had been flawed.

However, Dogan then filed an individual application to the Constitutional Court and asked for non-pecuniary damages, claiming that the Taraf attacked his and his colleagues’ personal rights in the newspaper reports. He said the reports aimed to publicly humiliate him and the other officers.

Initially, Dogan filed a lawsuit against Taraf’s editor-in-chief and other staff members who were responsible for the reports at an Istanbul court in 2012, but the court rejected the case. He then appealed the local court’s ruling to the Supreme Court of Appeals, but the local court’s decision was upheld.

As a last attempt, Dogan filed an individual application to the Constitutional Court, which then ruled that Dogan’s right to honor and prestige had been violated and ordered a sum of 8,000 TL to be paid to the applicant for non-pecuniary damages.

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