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ANKARA - KADER President Hülya Gülbahar and association lawyers argue in court that their campaign was covered by the freedom of expression. They cite a case that in the past went to the European Court of Human Rights and a French court’s decision to aid their defense
A women’s organization’s campaign poster featuring a collage of three party leaders arm-in-arm does not violate any law, a court in Ankara decided Friday.
A photo showing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan linking arms with opposition leaders, Deniz Baykal from the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and Devlet Bahçeli from the Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, were adorned on 1,376 billboards as part of a campaign launched by the Association for the Education and Support of Female Candidates, or KADER.
The move was made to support further female representation in the upcoming local elections in March.
Under the photo, a banner read: "All three of us have the same view: our target is to have women make up 50 percent of candidates for local administrations."
The collage, however, was a fictional one prepared for a billboard campaign to criticize the 1 percent presence of women in local administrations and the political parties’ lack of commitment to boosting female representation in politics.
Soon after the poster appeared on billboards, the MHP leader filed a complaint against KADER for not asking for permission to use his photo.
KADER President Hülya Gülbahar and association lawyers argued in court that their campaign was covered by the freedom of expression. They cited a case that went to the European Court of Human Rights and a French court’s decision in their defense.
In a complaint lodged against the nude collage of Austrian political leaders, an Austrian court found in favor of the politicians, but the European court later decided the decision violated freedom of speech.
In the French case, a French court decided against President Nicolas Sarcozy on the issue of the sale of voodoo dolls that looked like the president.
Association lawyers also said neither Erdoğan nor Baykal had deemed it necessary to lodge a complaint.
Bahçeli’s lawyer argued that KADER was not a media organization and could not be protected by freedom of press. "This poster is an advertisement. The photo of my client was used without his permission," Bahçeli’s lawyer said. The judge decided in favor of KADER after the arguments were heard.