Tag Archives: Article 301

Turkish Free Speech Issue Blocks EU Entry

Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code makes it a crime to insult the Turkish nation, and naturally the government decides what constitutes an “insult.” Under pressure of the European Union, the Turkish government last May supposedly modified the article to permit some form of protest against the government, but Justice Minister Ali Sahin has his own ideas as to what is permitted in his nation. He defends the prosecution of writer Temei Demirer because of his statement that Turkey carried out a genocide against Armenians a hundred years ago. According to the Justice Minister, “this man is saying Turkey is murderer state. I am not going to allow anyone call my state a murderer. These(expressions of Demirer)expressions are not exercising freedom of speech: these are humiliating the state, which is exactly what 301 criminalizes.”

Of course, if the Sahin philosophy was law in America, there would be need to build thousands of jails to handle the number of people who believe George Bush is a murderer and hate torturing prisoners. Sahin argues not all cases have gone to court that originally were filed. He misses the point, not a single case should go to court if there is freedom of speech in Turkey. The European Union will not be satisfied by lame excuses as those stated by the Minister of Justice.

Turkey Seeks Solution To Infamous Article 301!

Turkey is despertately seeking to attain membership in the European Union, but its quest has been hampered by certain clauses in the Turkish constitution which run counter to the ideals of the EU. The Turkish parliament has been grappling with the controversial Article 301 provision which allows individuals to be prosecuted for insulting the Turkish nation. The EU regards the provision as a direct violation of the principle of freedom of speech and will, most probably, reject the Turkish application unless Article 301 is eliminated. The latest discussion in parliament came up with changing the terminology to “Denigration of Turkish Nation.”

Sorry, Turkish officials, the European Union is going to insist on completely eliminating any such wording and allow Turks to denigrate, insult, or say whatever is on their mind. Take it or don’t enter.

Guilty -Oops Not Guilty, Who Knows, Say Turkish Courts

A Turkish lawyer and human rights campaigner who was charged with insulting the military under the notorious Article 301 which makes it a crime to insult “Turkishnes” was found guilty and not guilty by two separate courts that heard the same case by mistake. Eren Keskin, a Human Rights Association branch chairwoman made a speech in Germany in 2002 that asserted “the military in Turkey is now involved in trade. It buys banks. For as long as the country is not governed by civilian forces, women’s problems will never be solved. The miltiary commits sexual harassment, requiring virginity checks even from married women just to torment them.”

Ms. Keskin was charged by a member of the Turkish parliament, Profssor Necla Arat with violating Article 301. A prosecutor’s office filed a similar complaint which resulted in two separate courts hearing the same case. Legally, the two cases should have been combined but a mistake was made. In one case, the court agreed her comments were protected undr freedom of speech provisions of the constitution, in the other she was convicted but won an appeal. The retrial was halted by the judge who wanted to see if Article 301 would be changed.

Turkey’s Article 301 Fails Test Of Free Speech

Turkey has been attempting to meet demands from the European Union that its constitution respects the right of free speech. A particular source of friction between the EU and the Turish government revolves around the infamous Aricle 301 of the Turkish constitution which makes it a crime to insult “Turkishness.” The government is proposing to change the word from “Turkishness” to the “Turkish nation” as though that change would satisfy the European Union. Under the proposed change the maximum punishment would be two years and prosecution for violation would rest solely in the hands of the President of Turkey. Critics point out saying the “Turkish nation” only adds to confusion unless it is specified as to exactly what is meant by the “Turkish nation.” Erdal Dogan, lawyer for the Turkish-Armenian journalist, Hrant Dink, who was prosecuted for violating Aritcle 301, said the proposed change was cosmetic and meaningless.

Turkey is a mature democratic nation which is governed by intelligent people. They do not need to be protected against free speech, they are quite capable of handling such situations in the court of public opinion. The only solution is getting rid of this Article and not replacing it with anything.

Turkey Continues Annoying EU Over Its Membership Application

There is increasing evidence the European Union is becoming irritated at failure of the Turkish government to take action on several vital pieces of legislation concerning protection of human rights. Turkey meets with a EU commission every six months to discuss its application for membership and there are repeated requests from the EU for action. AS EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn noted: “We are warning the government against Article 301 which continues to undermine freedom of expression and the Turkish government says it will be changed. The repeated rhetoric has become annoying.” Article 301 makes illegal insulting the Turkish government and that includes claiming there was an Armenian genocide. There are also several other items such as allowing private institutions of higher learning or laws to ensure protection of minority rights which lay dormant in the Turkish parliament.

It is important for world peace that Turkey be admitted into the European Union Hopefully, as the Kurdish issues slips into the background, the Turkish government can focus on pushing through needed legislation if it really wants to enter the European Union.

Turkey To Amend Law Forbidding Insulting Turkey

Turkey is preparing to amend the notorious Article 301 law which makes it illegal to insult or denigrate the Turkish nation and can land those who do so in jail for up to three years. Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin said his government would shortly be submitting an amendment to Article 301 to end the current ban on making insulting remarks about Turkey. His comment came shortly after the European Union issued its annual report which raised questions about Article 301. “It is not acceptable that writers, journalists, academics, and others… are prosecuted for simply expressing a critical, but completely non violent opinion.”

Article 3012 has been used to prosecute writers and journalists who have made statements about the genocide against Armenians. Ending this type of restriction on free speech will assist Turkey in moving forward regarding dealing with its past history.

A Common Sense Turkish View Of The Congressional Resolution

Mehmet Ali Birand, writing in the Turkish Daily News offered a common sense approach for the Turkish people in handling resolutions about Armenia. “We are stuck with the Armenian genocide allegations now. The Armenians worked hard at it, while we remained indifferent. In the end, we were branded by international public opinion. Since we can’t be at odds with everyone, we must make a new beginning.”

“We must bring out the truth about what really happened and refrain from hiding anything. A second important step will be to replace the term ‘genocide’ with a new word or a sentence that really qualifies the events and insist on using it. We must organize conferences and seminars directed at western universities. In internal politics, the change must b by the creation of a millieu where we can discuss the events of 1915 without complexes. Turkish society must get rid of article 301(this law makes illegal insulting the Turkish nation and mentioning the genocide of 1915 is considered an insult) in order to be able to discuss that period in detail without fear. Turkish society must no longer be threatened by beatings or protests for thinking differently. We must really open all our archives. If we have nothing to hide, we must stop playing small games and we should encourage transparency. If Turkey can do all that, its international credibility will rise.”