Turkey’s top court has ruled that attending the activities of a legitimate association cannot be used as evidence of terrorism, according to the Diken news website, overturning a local court’s sentencing of Ahmet Urhan on charges of left-wing terrorist organization membership.
Urhan was sentenced by a local court for membership in the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP), citing the defendant’s membership in the Socialist Youth Association (SGD) as evidence.
According to a police report, although the SGD was legitimately founded, it has affiliations with the MLKP group.
The Constitutional Court ruled on Friday that the local court’s decision violated the freedom of association since the SGD exists within the limits of the law.
The top court also said the observations revealed in the police report could not be legally substantiated and that SGD meetings were peaceful in nature.
Turkey has also jailed thousands of followers of the faith-based Gülen movement since a failed 2016 coup for membership in Gülen-linked associations.
In the aftermath of the abortive putsch, hundreds of associations were shut down by government decrees due to alleged terrorism affiliations.