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Turkish parliament meeting early to work on EU reforms

[JURIST] The Turkish parliament, the Grand National Assembly [official website], is scheduled to meet Tuesday, two weeks earlier than usual, to work on passing reform measures aimed at gaining membership to the European Union [JURIST news archive]. The EU has cautioned [JURIST report] Turkey that its EU bid [EU backgrounder] will not be accepted unless the country improves its record on torture and other human rights violations, including the restriction of freedom of expression.

EU lawmakers especially oppose Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code [Amnesty backgrounder], which makes it a crime to insult Turkish identity. One Turkish lawmaker said that Article 301, which has been used to prosecute writers Hrant Dink and Orhan Pamuk for discussing the alleged Armenian genocide, will be revised to rebut EU criticism. Earlier this month, the EU Parliament said Turkey has been slow to deliver promised legal reforms [JURIST report], including "persistent shortcomings in areas such as freedom of expression, religious and minority rights, the role of the military, policing, women's rights, trade union rights and cultural rights." Reuters has more.

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