Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Turkey Still Teetering

Orhan Pamuk may have had charges against him dropped, but that doesn't mean Turkey is about to do away with Article 301, a law which criminalizes insulting Turkishness or the Turkish armed forces.

Under tremendous pressure from abroad, particularly from the EU member nations, Turkey let Pamuk off the hook for daring to suggest that the Armenian genocide actually occurred. Unfortunately, other writers in Turkey haven't been so lucky.

Fatih Tas, a prominent Istanbul publisher, is currently appealing a six-month jail sentence for violating Article 301 by translating a book about Turkish paramilitary organizations. Five Turkish journalists face the court Tuesday on charges "stemming from columns they wrote criticizing a judge's decision last September to ban an academic conference about the Armenian question."

Dropping charges against Pamuk was a good start, but it's nothing more than window-dressing if Article 301 prosecutions continue. Freedom of speech, much discussed these days, is the freedom to criticize. No law should exist to prevent dissent or to shroud the truth.
Listed on BlogShares