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Turkish PM says no plans to change state slander provision for EU bid

[JURIST] Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [official website; BBC profile] has said that his government has no plans to abolish Article 301 [Amnesty backgrounder] of the country's penal code, despite warnings [JURIST report] from the European Union [official website] that it infringes upon the freedom of expression. Turkey already revised portions of its penal code [JURIST report] last year, and Erdogan said Sunday that Turkey will not change Article 301 but will consider EU suggested changes. The EU has warned Turkey that its slow progress [JURIST report] on a variety of legal and other reforms could threaten its bid [EU materials] for membership in the European Union [JURIST news archive]. Criticism of Article 301 is suspected to be included in the European Commission's annual progress report on Turkey [JURIST news archive; CIA backgrounder], due to be published on November 8.

Article 301 makes it a crime to insult the Turkish identity and has been used to prosecute human rights defenders, journalists and other members of civil society. Turkish novelists Elif Shafak [personal website], Hrant Dink and Orhan Pamuk [JURIST news archive] have all been charged under Article 301 for discussing the alleged Armenian genocide. Shafak was acquitted and Pamuk's charges were dismissed [JURIST reports], while Dink faces a retrial [JURIST report]. The Cyprus Mail has more.


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