10/04/2007, 00.00
TURKEY
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The Government ponders changes to the controversial art. 301 of the penal code

Because of this norm writers, scholars and journalists have been investigated for proposing different versions to official “truths” for example the Armenian Genocide. The EU requested it be dropped or substantially modified.

Ankara (AsiaNews) – The government will change the much-criticized Article 301 of the penal code that penalizes insulting “Turkishness” of the Republic, State, Law lords or Army.  In short, “Turkishness” is understood as the official version of historical and current events such as terrorism, or the Armenian Genocide.  Writers, scholars and journalists have been brought to trial on these charges, including the Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk and murdered journalist Hrant Dink.

 

Many see Article 301 as a violation of the freedom of expression and the EU has been demanding its removal in order for Turkey to continue its membership process. This is why, reports Turkish Daily News, Erdogan’s government decided to motivate this before the release of Turkey's European Union Progress Report in early November. The new draft text may be presented to Parliament by the months end.

 

According to the daily, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government intends to keep the article but replace the word “Turkishness” with “Turkish nation” and make the justice minister's approval a requirement for any inquiry to be started under Article 301. The paper underlines that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is known to have objected to the total removal of the article -Last year, various nongovernmental organizations met to propose changes to the article - citing similar versions of it in European countries. However He said he was open to changes in the article.

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