The European Court of Human Rights condemned Turkey for failing to protect the privacy of a prominent Turkish actor who was secretly filmed kissing another celebrity at her home in footage shown on television.
Birsen Berrak Tüzünataç, a film and soap opera star, won the marathon case before the ECHR, which ruled that Turkey violated the European Convention on Human Rights by dismissing his legal claims.
In 2010, Tüzünataç filed a lawsuit against the parent company of a Turkish television channel which filmed her kissing another Turkish actor on a terrace at her home.
She said she was filmed without her knowledge, in violation of her right to privacy, but in 2013 the Istanbul Regional Court rejected her request on the grounds that she had been filmed from the street and that it was not there had been no intrusion into his home.
His decision was upheld by the Turkish Court of Cassation and Constitutional Court.
The ECHR designated the male actor involved only as a prominent personality with the initials SG. However, Turkish media had widely reported that he was Şahan Gökbakar, one of the country’s most famous screen faces and the star of blockbuster comedy films.
In its judgment, the European Court of Human Rights said that despite their notoriety, “a person’s love life is in principle of a strictly private nature”, while the video in question “seems to have had the sole purpose to satisfy the curiosity of a certain public”.
He said that because the reporting failed to meet “responsible journalism standards”, Turkish domestic courts “should have exercised greater rigor in weighing the various interests involved”.
He ruled that Turkey had violated Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which enshrines respect for a person’s private life.
Turkish TV personalities such as Tüzünataç, 38, though little known in the West, are under intense scrutiny at home, where Turkish newspapers and websites are filled with photos of celebrities.
The ECHR, part of the pan-European human rights body the Council of Europe, has regularly ruled against Turkey in recent months over cases of detention of opposition figures such as the activist of civil society Osman Kavala and the Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş.