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Turkish prosecutors charge professor with 'insulting Ataturk legacy'

[JURIST] A Turkish prosecutor officially filed charges against political science professor Atilla Yayla Tuesday for "insulting the legacy" of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk [Turkish News profile], the founder of modern Turkey. The professor is being prosecuted for a November 18 speech, in which he stated that Ataturk's rule from 1925 to 1945 was not as progressive as some believe. Yayla faces up to three years imprisonment if convicted. A trial date has yet to be set. AP has more.

Last week, a Turkish court imposed a ban [JURIST report] on popular video-sharing website YouTube [corporate website] because of videos allegedly insulting Ataturk. The ban was lifted [JURIST report] two days later. Insulting Ataturk and "insulting the Turkish identity" are both serious crimes under the controversial Article 301 [Amnesty backgrounder; JURIST news archive] of Turkey's penal code [text, in Turkish]. Critics say Turkey has used Article 301 to silence government critics, which has presented a stumbling block [JURIST report] to the nation's proposed ascension to the European Union.

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