Love begets love, and if it does not, it constitutes sexual harassment, the Supreme Court of Appeals, the highest legal authority in Turkey, has ruled. Handling three different cases involving text and social media messages involving declarations of love, the top court decided that if one cannot receive an "I love you" in return from someone he or she has declared their love for, it can be classified as harassment. If one can document the prospective significant other is in love, too, he or she can escape punishment, according to the court.
In the first case, a man sent his female colleague text messages reading: "I love you, I will follow you wherever you go." The woman filed a criminal complaint against the man but a local court ruled the man was not guilty of sexual harassment and ordered his release. Assessing an appeal, the Supreme Court said the man's actions constituted a crime of sexual harassment as he sent more than one message and made multiple phone calls to declare his love, and ordered a retrial.
In the second case, a man in Istanbul sent "I love you" messages for two days to a female friend. The woman immediately took the case to court. The local court ruled the man simply caused "disorder" rather than sexual harassment, but the prosecutor's office objected and took the case to the Supreme Court of Appeals claiming it constituted sexual harassment. The court sided with the prosecutor and said the defendant should be charged with sexual harassment, citing that the man committed the crime twice in a short period of time.
In the last case, the defendant was the boyfriend of a woman who stopped responding to his love messages. The man faced charges of sexual harassment after the girlfriend filed a lawsuit. The local court decided sending love-related messages is sexual harassment and ordered the defendant's imprisonment. The Court of Appeals dismissed the prison sentence, citing the defendant and victim had corresponded with each other and the woman previously responded to the defendant's declaration of love positively.