Ankara amends 'Turkishness' code

April 30, 2008 at 10:05 AM
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ANKARA, Turkey, April 30 (UPI) -- The Turkish parliament had a late-night session to appease Europe by amending its controversial law that makes insulting "Turkishness" a crime, officials said.

As part of reforms for Ankara's bid to the European Union, EU officials called on Turkey to amend Article 301 of its penal code that makes insulting "Turkishness" a crime, saying it violates free speech.

The Grand National Assembly of Turkey, by a vote of 250-65 late Tuesday, amended Article 301 to make insulting Turkey as a nation a crime punishable by a maximum two-year prison term as opposed to insulting "Turkishness," which imposed a three-year prison term, The New Anatolian said Wednesday.

Officials arrested hundreds of people under Article 301 since 2003, including Orhan Pamuk, the 2006 Nobel Prize winner for literature.

pponents of Article 301 say there are still enough loopholes in the code to allow Turkish nationalists to continue to crackdown on writers and journalists.

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