Wednesday, April 16, 2008

DTP Removes Its Support for 301 Proposal

The Kurdish DTP announced yesterday at his party's parliamentary group meeting that DTP will not be supporting AKP's proposal to amend Article 301. According to DTP leader Ahmet Türk, the proposal falls short of addressing the fundamental problem of restrictions against freedom of speech in Turkey.
“Several circles have discussed whether the president should be entitled to give
permission for the prosecution of individuals under Article 301. Isn’t Turkey’s
aspiration to save individuals, journalists and writers from being charged under
this article?”
Türk drew attention to the numerous other laws under which individuals can be prosecuted for their speech and which are frequently wielded against DTP members and Kurdish activists. While the trial of Turkish intellectuals under Article 301 has attracted a great amount of attention from the Western press, cases against Kurdish politicians and activists under other articles of the penal code have attracted far less attention. Oftentimes, Kurdish activists and journalists are accused of acting in cahoots with organizations and newspapers that support terrorism and very little evidence is ever provided as to the validity of these accusations. For documentation of this phenomenon and the greater context of Türk's remarks and DTP's decision not to support AKP's proposal, see "Reform and Regression: Freedom of the Media in Turkey," a fact-finding report released in October by the Kurdish Human Rights Project in London, the Index on Censorship, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, and the Centre for European Studies in Limerick, Ireland.

No comments: