AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

                      Application No. 24277/94
                      by Yücel ÖZDEMIR
                      against Turkey

     The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on
2 September 1996, the following members being present:


           Mr.   S. TRECHSEL, President
           Mrs.  G.H. THUNE
           Mrs.  J. LIDDY
           MM.   E. BUSUTTIL
                 G. JÖRUNDSSON
                 A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                 A. WEITZEL
                 J.-C. SOYER
                 H. DANELIUS
                 F. MARTINEZ
                 L. LOUCAIDES
                 J.-C. GEUS
                 M.P. PELLONPÄÄ
                 G.B. REFFI
                 M.A. NOWICKI
                 I. CABRAL BARRETO
                 B. CONFORTI
                 N. BRATZA
                 I. BÉKÉS
                 J. MUCHA
                 D. SVÁBY
                 G. RESS
                 A. PERENIC
                 C. BÎRSAN
                 P. LORENZEN
                 K. HERNDL
                 E. BIELIUNAS
                 E.A. ALKEMA
                 M. VILA AMIGÓ

           Mr.   H.C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission

     Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

     Having regard to the application introduced on 4 May 1994 by Mr.
Yücel Özdemir against Turkey and registered on 6 June 1996 under file
No. 24277/94;

     Having regard to :

-    the reports provided for in Rule 47 of the Rules of Procedure of
     the Commission;

-    the Commission's decision of 20 February 1995 to communicate the
     application ;

-    the observations submitted by the respondent Government on
     17 July 1995 and the observations in reply submitted by the
     applicant on 31 October 1995;

     Having deliberated;

     Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

     The applicant, a Turkish citizen, born in 1968 and residing in
Cologne, Germany, is a journalist. Before the Commission, he is
represented by Semih Mutlu, a lawyer practising in Istanbul.

A.   Particular circumstances of the case:

     The facts of the present case as submitted by the parties may be
summarised as follows:

     At the material time, the applicant was the responsible editor
of a weekly review entitled "Haberde Yorumda Gerçek" (The Truth of News
and Comments) and published in Istanbul.

     In the 31 May 1992 and 7 June 1992 editions of the review, an
interview with a PKK leader and a joint declaration by four socialist
organisations were published.

     On 1 June 1992 the Istanbul State Security Court ordered the
seizure of all copies of the tenth edition of the review because it
allegedly contained a declaration by terrorist organisations and
disseminated separatist propaganda.

     In an indictment dated 16 June 1992 the Public Prosecutor at the
Istanbul State Security Court, on account of an interview with a PKK
leader published in the seized edition, charged the applicant as the
responsible editor of the review, with disseminating propaganda in the
interview against the indivisibility of the State. The applicant was
also charged with publishing a declaration by four socialist
organisations. The charges were brought respectively under Articles 6
and 8 of the Anti-Terror Law.

     In another indictment dated 30 June 1992, the applicant was
charged with disseminating propaganda against the indivisibility of the
State in a further interview which was published in the eleventh issue
of the review. The charges were brought under Article 8 of the Anti-
Terror Law.

     On 4 February 1993 the criminal proceedings were joined for being
a single interview published in two parts.

     In the proceedings before the Istanbul State Security Court, the
applicant denied the charges. He pleaded that the interview was
published with the aim of giving information to the public within the
scope of journalism and the liberty of the press.

     In a judgment dated 27 May 1993 the State Security Court found
the applicant guilty of offences under Articles 6 and 8 of the Anti-
Terror Law. The applicant was sentenced to six months' imprisonment
plus a fine of 150,000,000 Turkish lira. The Court held that the
interview was published in the form of a news commentary. It further
held that the interviewee had referred to a certain part of the Turkish
territory as "Kurdistan", he had asserted that certain Turkish citizens
who are of Kurdish race form a separate society and that the Republic
of Turkey expels the Kurdish people from their villages and massacres
them. It further considered that the interviewee had praised Kurdish
terrorist activities and had claimed that the Kurds should form a
separate state. On these grounds, the Court found that the interview,
as a whole, disseminated propaganda against the indivisibility of the
State. The Court further held that another page of the review contained
a declaration by terrorist organisations and thus constituted a
separate offence under Article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law.

     The applicant appealed. His legal representative stated that in
a democratic society opinions must be freely expressed and argued. She
maintained that there had been no prosecutions for the publication of
other interviews with the leaders of the PKK in other newspapers or
magazines. She reiterated the defence which the applicant had made
before the State Security Court.

     On 4 November 1993 the Court of Cassation dismissed the appeal.
It upheld the cogency of the State Security Court's  assessment of
evidence and its reasoning in rejecting the applicant's defence.

     After the amendments made by Law No. 4126 to the Anti-Terror Law,
the Istanbul State Security Court re-examined the applicant's case and
sentenced him to the same fine.

B.   Relevant domestic law:

     The relevant domestic law in the present case is contained in
Articles 6 and 8 of the Anti-Terror Law and Article 7 of the Press Law.
The text of these Articles is set out below:

     Article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713 of 12 April 1991

     <Translation>

     "Those who announce that a crime will be committed by terrorist
     organisations against certain persons either expressly or without
     mentioning their names, or who disseminate or disclose to the
     public the identity of officials appointed to fight terrorism,
     or who render such officials targets, shall be subject to a fine
     of between 5 and 10 million Turkish lira.

     Those who print or publish the leaflets of terrorist
     organisations shall be subject to a fine of between 5 and 10
     million Turkish lira.

     Those who, contrary to Article 14 of this Law, disclose or
     publish the identity of informants shall be subject to a fine of
     between 5 and 10 million Turkish lira.

     If one of the crimes defined above is committed by means of
     periodicals, as defined in Article 3 of the Press Law, the owners
     of such periodicals shall be punished by a fine to be determined
     in accordance with the following provisions:

     -     For periodicals published at less than monthly intervals,
           the fine shall be ninety per cent of the average real sales
           of the previous month;

     -     for periodicals published monthly or at more than monthly
           intervals, the fine shall be ninety per cent of the average
           real sales of the previous issue;

     -     [for printed works that are not periodicals or for
           periodicals which have recently started business, the fine
           shall be ninety per cent of the monthly sales of the
           highest circulating daily periodical.]

     In any case, the fine may not be less than 100 million Turkish
     lira.

     Responsible editors of these periodicals shall be given half the
     sentences of the publishers."

     Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law No.3713 of 12 April 1991
     (before the amendments of 27 October 1995)

     <Translation>

     "No one shall, by any means or with any intention or idea, make
     written and oral propaganda or hold assemblies, demonstrations
     or manifestations against the indivisible integrity of the State
     of the Turkish Republic with its land and nation. Those carrying
     out such an activity shall be sentenced to imprisonment between
     two and five years and to a fine of between 50 and 100 million
     Turkish lira.

     If the offence of propaganda referred to in the preceding
     paragraph is committed by means of periodicals, as defined in
     Article 3 of the Press Law No. 5680, the owners of such
     periodicals shall also be punished by a fine, to be determined
     in accordance with the following provisions:

     -     For periodicals published at less than monthly
           intervals, the fine shall be ninety per cent of the
           average real sales of the previous month;

     -     [for printed works that are not periodicals or for
           periodicals which have recently started business, the fine
           shall be ninety per cent of the average monthly sales of
           the highest circulating daily periodical.]

     In any case, the fine may not be less than 100 million Turkish
     lira.

     Responsible editors of these periodicals shall be sentenced to
     between six months and two years' imprisonment and to half of the
     fine determined in accordance with the foregoing provisions."

     In a judgment dated 31 March 1992, the Constitutional Court found
the clauses in brackets in the text of Articles 6 and 8 of the Anti-
Terror Law above to be contrary to the Constitution and annulled them.
The Constitutional Court held that the annulled text would cease to
have effect six months after the date of publication of the annulment
decision in the Official Gazette. The decision was published on 27
January 1993 and therefore these clauses ceased to have effect as of
27 July 1993.

     Article 8 paragraph 1 of the Anti-Terror Law as amended by
     Law No. 4126 of 27 October 1995

     <Translation>

     "No one shall make written and oral propaganda or hold
     assemblies, demonstrations and manifestations against the
     indivisible integrity of the State of the Turkish Republic with
           its land and nation. Those carrying out such an activity
           shall be sentenced to imprisonment between one and three
           years and a fine of between 100 and 300 million Turkish
           lira. In case of re-occurrence of this offence, sentences
           shall not be commuted to fines."

     The Press Law (Law No. 5680)

     Under Article 7 of the Press Law, in cases where a periodical is
owned by a company, the major shareholder in that company is considered
to be the owner of the periodical.

COMPLAINTS

     The applicant complains of violations of Articles 10, 18 and 6
of the Convention.

     As to Article 10 of the Convention, the applicant complains that
his conviction as the responsible editor of a periodical in which an
interview with a PKK leader was published, as well as a joint
declaration by four socialist organisations, constituted an unjustified
interference with his freedom of expression, and in particular with his
right to receive and impart information and ideas.

     As to Article 18 of the Convention the applicant complains that
the restrictions which were applied to his freedom of expression, under
Articles 6 and 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, were inconsistent with the
legitimate aims prescribed in Article 10 para. 2 of the Convention.

     As to Article 6 para. 1 of the Convention the applicant complains
that his case was not heard by an independent and impartial tribunal.
He asserts in this regard that one of the three members of the State
Security Court is a military judge answerable to his military superiors
whose presence prejudices the independence of the Court.

     The applicant also complains that the length of the criminal
proceedings against him exceeded the reasonable time requirement of
Article 6 para. 1.

PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMISSION

     The application was introduced on 4 May 1994 and registered on
6 June 1994.

     On 20 February 1995 the Commission decided to communicate the
application under Articles 10 (freedom of expression), 18 (prohibition
against an improper use of the restrictions),  and 6 para. 1 (a lack
of impartiality and independence) of the Convention, to the respondent
Government, pursuant to Rule 48 para. 2 (b)  of the Rules of Procedure.
The Government's observations were submitted on 17 July 1995. The
applicant replied on 31 October 1995.

     On 4 December 1995 the Government submitted information
concerning the amendments made to the Anti-Terror Law (Law No. 3713)
and the developments in the cases of persons convicted and sentenced
under Article 8 of the said Law. The applicant submitted comments in
reply on 13 February 1996.

THE LAW

1.   The applicant first complains that his conviction as the
responsible editor of a periodical constitutes an unjustified
interference with his freedom of expression, in particular his right
to receive and impart ideas and information under Article 10 (Art. 10)
of the Convention which reads as follows:

     "1.   Everyone has the right to freedom of expression.  This
     right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and
     impart information and ideas without interference by public
     authority and regardless of frontiers...

     2.    The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it
     duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities,
     conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law
     and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of
     national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for
     the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health
     or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of
     others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in
     confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of
     the judiciary."

     The applicant also complains that in his case there has been a
breach of Article 18 (Art. 18) of the Convention in that the
restrictions which were applied to his freedom of expression, under
Articles 6 and 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, were inconsistent with the
legitimate aims prescribed in Article 10 para. 2 (Art. 10-2) of the
Convention. Article 18 (Art. 18) reads as follows:

     "The restrictions permitted under this Convention to the said
     rights and freedoms shall not be applied for any purpose other
     than those for which they have been prescribed."

     The Government maintain that in this case the interference with
the applicant's rights under Article 10 (Art. 10) of the Convention was
prescribed by law i.e. by Articles 6 and 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. They
state that the applicant, in his review, published an interview, in
which the person being interviewed had referred to a certain part of
the Turkish territory as "Kurdistan" and had asserted that certain
Turkish citizens who are of Kurdish race form a separate society and
that the Republic of Turkey expels the Kurdish people from their
villages and massacres them. The respondent Government assert that
according to Articles 6 and 8 of the Anti-Terror Law these forms of
expression constitute a propaganda against the indivisible integrity
of the State. They consider that therefore the domestic courts
interpreted the law reasonably.

     The Government also maintain that the purpose of the conviction
of the applicant was linked to the control of the terrorism carried out
by illegal organisations and consequently served to protect the
territorial integrity and national security.

     As to the necessity of the measure in a democratic society, the
respondent Government state that the threat posed to Turkey by the PKK
and its affiliations is internationally recognised, as is the need to
react firmly to it. Terrorism strikes at the heart of democracy, the
fundamental rights which that concept enshrines and the judicial and
political systems. They assert that the interview in question is based
on the glorification of the activities of the PKK being an illegal
terrorist organisation, for the establishment of an independent Kurdish
State against the Turkish State. They submit that it is generally
accepted in the comparative and international law on terrorism, that
restrictions on Convention rights will be deemed necessary in a
democratic society threatened by terrorist violence, as being
proportionate to the aim of protecting public order.

     In this respect the Government assert that the decisions of the
istanbul State Security Court and the Court of Cassation did not exceed
the margin of appreciation conferred on States by the Convention.

     The applicant contests all these arguments. He maintains that the
interview was published with the aim of giving information to the
public within the scope of journalism. He contends that, in the
circumstances of the present case, there was no social need for his
conviction.

     The applicant also maintains that his conviction cannot be
justified under the Convention. He considers that it was completely out
of proportion to rely on such reasons, particularly in view of the
limited circulation of the review.

     Furthermore the applicant maintains that the penal sanctions
inflicted upon him were not necessary in a democratic society. He notes
that there had been no prosecution for the publication of interviews
with the leaders of the PKK in other newspapers or magazines.

     With regard to the amendments made by Law No. 4126 to the Article
8 of the Anti-Terror Law, the applicant states the sentence remains
enforceable against him. He emphasises that in these circumstances his
status has not changed following the amendments to the said Law.

     The Commission has conducted a preliminary examination of the
parties' arguments. It considers that this part of the application
raises complex factual and legal issues which cannot be resolved at
this stage of the examination of the application, but require an
examination of the merits. Consequently, this complaint cannot be
declared manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para.
2 (Art. 27-2) of the Convention. No other grounds for declaring it
inadmissible have been established.

2.   The applicant further complains that his case was not heard by
an independent and impartial tribunal as required by Article 6 para.
1 (Art. 6-1) of the Convention. In so far as relevant, this provision
reads as follows:

     "1.   In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or
     of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a
     fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an
     independent and impartial tribunal established by law..."

     The Government maintain that State Security Courts, which are
special courts set up to deal with offences against the existence and
continuity of the State, are ordinary courts, given that they were
established in accordance with the provisions of Article 143 of the
Constitution. As they are independent judicial organs, no public
authority or agent could give instructions to such courts. State
Security Courts are composed of three members, one of whom is a
military judge. A civil judge acts as president and all judges have
attained the first grade in the career scale. The presence of a
military judge in the court does not prejudice its independence, this
judge being a judge by career and not belonging to the military. The
judges of State Security Courts evaluate the evidence and take their
decisions in accordance with the law and on their own conscientious
conviction as required by Article 138 of the Turkish Constitution. The
verdicts of such courts are subject to review by the Court of
Cassation.

     Accordingly the Government submit that the application is
manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2
(Art. 27-2) of the Convention.

     The applicant claims that the State Security Courts are
extraordinary courts dealing with political offences. He contends that:

- the members of the State Security Court are appointed by the High
Council of Judges and Prosecutors,

- the president of this Council is the Minister of Justice and two
other members also hold office in the Ministry of Justice,

- one of the three members of the State Security Court is a military
judge answerable to his military superiors.

     The Commission has conducted a preliminary examination of the
parties' arguments. It considers that this part of the application
raises complex factual and legal issues which cannot be resolved at
this stage of the examination of the application, but require an
examination of the merits. Consequently, this complaint cannot be
declared manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para.
2 (Art. 27-2) of the Convention. No other grounds for declaring it
inadmissible have been established.

3.   The applicant lastly complains that the criminal proceedings
brought against him were not dealt with within a "reasonable time" as
required by Article 6 para. 1 (Art. 6-1) of the Convention.

     The Commission notes that the period to be considered began on
1 June 1992 when the domestic court ordered the seizure of all copies
of the tenth edition of the review and ended on 4 November 1993 when
the Court of Cassation delivered its judgment. It therefore amounted
to about one year and five months.

     The Commission recalls that the reasonableness of the length of
proceedings must be assessed in the light of the particular
circumstances of the case and having regard to the criteria laid down
in the established case-law, in particular the complexity of the case
and conduct of the applicant and of the relevant authorities (Eur.
Court HR, Yagci and Sargin v. Turkey judgment of 8 June 1995, Series
A no. 319, p. 20, para. 59).

     In the instant case, the Commission observes that the total
period at issue was not unreasonably long. Moreover, the applicant has
not shown any substantial periods of inactivity attributable to the
judicial authorities.

     It follows that this part of this application is manifestly ill-
founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the
Convention.

     For these reasons, the Commission, unanimously,

     DECLARES ADMISSIBLE, without prejudging the merits, the
     applicant's complaints relating to the alleged interference with
     his freedom of expression and the alleged lack of impartiality
     and independence of the tribunal which convicted him;

     DECLARES THE REMAINDER OF THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE.


        H.C. KRÜGER                         S. TRECHSEL
         Secretary                           President
     to the Commission                    of the Commission