Turkey passes anti-terrorism law reform

April 12, 2013 at 1:58 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, April 12 (UPI) -- Turkey's Parliament has passed reform of its anti-terrorism laws.

The vote on the legislation, passed late Thursday, is intended to bring the country's legal code into closer compliance with European Union norms, as the country continues its reforms in an effort to join the EU.

The new legislation narrows the definition of terrorist "propaganda," a key EU demand intended to boost freedom of expression, Angop press agency reported on Friday.

The reforms parallel efforts by the government and Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, Kurdish Marxist militants, to negotiate an end to the 28-year insurgency that has roiled southwestern Turkey and resulted in 10s of thousands of deaths.

In the past Turkey has frequently used its legislation to prosecute thousands of politicians, activists and journalists, often for their writings or comments.

Underlying the reform, Turkey in the past has frequently been harshly criticized for violating the European Convention of Human Rights and, as a result, the European Commission repeatedly urged the Turkish government to amend its laws in order better to distinguish between incitement to violence and the peaceful expression of non-violent concepts.

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