turkce links to original Turkish article
(Sabah Newspaper, 26 April 2015)
//ed. note: the word 'lan' equates to 'dude' or 'man' in English, when
used in a pejorative sense. It usually follows a curse, as in 'go to hell,
man/dude!' Other times, though, it can simply mean 'come on, give
me a break man/dude' ('hadi lan!'), when one finds something hard
'Be careful what you say, it could land you in prison.'
The Yargitay (Supreme) court has changed the interpretation of the
word 'lan', which is spoken in just about every argument or fight that
occurs in daily life. The court decided that this word is an insult and
a jail penalty must be given for saying it. The 'lan' word came to the
Yargitay's notice because it appears in so many insult suits.
The Yargitay's 4th Penalty Office, which looks at insult suits, had
agreed that the word 'lan' is 'course and unpleasant' but voided the
penalties meted out and approved aquittals.
However, this time the matter was discussed in the Penalty General
Council, which gives the final decision in such cases, and its decision
was that "this word is an insult." With the Council's decision, the legal
interpretation of the word was changed and the decision has taken on
the sense of a precedent.
The incident in the case occurred in Ankara's Beypazari district.
A person named Atilla A. came to the police station, argued with
police and used the phrase "yeter lan!" (enough man/dude!). The
offended police officer took note and filed a complaint against
Atilla A., who was sentenced to a 1 year 2 month jail sentence for
The sentence was converted to 7,000 TL (about $3,000). The appeal
of the case then came to the Yargitay 4th Penalty Office, which
wrote that for an insult to constitute a crime, "it is necessary to
impute/ascribe a concrete verb or fact that harms someone's honor or
respectability." This decision had the effect of voiding the
Beypazari court's and exonerating Atilla A.
Nevertheless, the public prosecutor pursued the case to the Penalty
General Council, asserting that by using the word 'lan', Atilla A.
had diminished the police officer's honor and dignity. The Council
sided with the prosecutor and declared that the 4th Penalty Office's
characterization of 'lan' as 'course but not a crime' was wrong.
Consequently, Atilla A. was forced to pay the 7,000 TL fine and
henceforth 'lan' will be accepted as an insult by courts.