Saturday, April 5, 2008

More Reason for 301 Reform

I almost missed this, but Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya warned Wednesday that his office is intent to file charges against journalists and academics who go beyond criticism of the AKP closure case and instead insult the authorities currently prosecuting the case. (Yalçınkaya's office?) As we have seen, what is determined to be criticism and what is found to be an insult is highly unpredictable and usually politically-motivated. This is all the more reason why amendment to Article 301 and other legal restrictions on free speech must be rapidly removed. Actions such as Yalçınkaya's turn the political process into a trading of insults exchanged between various political elites—a spectacle that addresses not the needs of the people, but the egos of the politicians. As before argued, it also renders impossible the possibility of an open marketplace of ideas.

Criticism of Yalçınkaya will likely continue to build as revelations continue to make their way into the papers that many of the charges the Chief Prosecutor included in his 162-page indictment of AKP were copy-and-pasted from CHP circulars. Not only does such information show the tenuous nature of the allegations in the indictment as intimated by the Constitutional Court's rapporteur Osman Can, but more importantly, a possible political link between Yalçınkaya and CHP officials. As former chair of my university's honor council, is there a law in Turkey against plagiarism?

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