April 14, 2008

Bill To "Amend" Controversial Article 301 Sent to Turkish Parliament

In a much needed respite from the sorry state of politcal affairs in Armenia we would like to inform our readers that the Turkish Parliament will be debating a bill to amend Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code.

Briefly, in addition to a few symbolic changes in the lexicon of the article, the Turkish Parliament will be debating whether or not to take away the mandate to file a lawsuit under the article from the president and give it to the Ministry of Justice.

The European Union has been calling on Turkey to amend Article 301, which has been the basis for charges against Turkish writers and journalists such as Hrant Dink, Elif Safak, and Orhan Pamuk. That provision makes denigrating Turkish identity or insulting the country’s institutions a crime punishable by up to three years in prison.

Doesn't seem like the bill intends to strip Article 301 of its teeth to go after dissidents in Turkey not towing the regime's line. In Turkey you get charged with "insulting the Turkish nation" while here in Armenia you get charged with "fomenting mass public havoc" and "seeking to usurp state power". Here, they lock you up and throw away the key. In Turkey, you can get shot for expressing your ideas. That doesn't happen in Armenia.... Oops, I spoke a bit prematurely.


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