18 February 2018

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10/04/2007 TURKEY

The Government ponders changes to the controversial art. 301 of the penal code

Because of this norm writers, scholars and journalists have been investigated for proposing different versions to official “truths” for example the Armenian Genocide. The EU requested it be dropped or substantially modified.

Ankara (AsiaNews) – The government will change the much-criticized Article 301 of the penal code that penalizes insulting “Turkishness” of the Republic, State, Law lords or Army.  In short, “Turkishness” is understood as the official version of historical and current events such as terrorism, or the Armenian Genocide.  Writers, scholars and journalists have been brought to trial on these charges, including the Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk and murdered journalist Hrant Dink.


Many see Article 301 as a violation of the freedom of expression and the EU has been demanding its removal in order for Turkey to continue its membership process. This is why, reports Turkish Daily News, Erdogan’s government decided to motivate this before the release of Turkey's European Union Progress Report in early November. The new draft text may be presented to Parliament by the months end.


According to the daily, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government intends to keep the article but replace the word “Turkishness” with “Turkish nation” and make the justice minister's approval a requirement for any inquiry to be started under Article 301. The paper underlines that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is known to have objected to the total removal of the article -Last year, various nongovernmental organizations met to propose changes to the article - citing similar versions of it in European countries. However He said he was open to changes in the article.

See also

10/11/2006 TURKEY
Turkey adopts new law on religious minorities' property rights
The issue was part of the European Union's must-do reform list. But for the Ecumenical Patriarchate the changes envisaged are inadequate. The government announces possible changes to controversial Section 301 of the Penal Code.

03/11/2006 TURKEY
Two converts to Christianity accused of "insulting Turkishness"
The two men are charged under Section 301 of the Penal Code of trying to convert teenagers. Nobel Prize laureate for literature Orhan Pamuk was also charged under the same section, which is challenged by the European Union.

EU critical of Turkey's progress, stops short of freezing talks, sets deadline
EU report calls on Turkey to meet European standards on Cyprus, freedom of expression and religion, women's and trade union rights.

26/06/2012 RUSSIA
Joke award for the Patriarch of Moscow. The Duma wants tougher penalties for incitement to religious hatred
The majority party United Russia prepares amendments to the penal code to ensure that the Church is not the subject of satire or negative comments. The Patriarchate approves: it will help avoid civil war.

29/10/2009 PAKISTAN
Blasphemy law: a long list of injustices (An overview)
Under Sections 295 B and 205-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, anyone who desecrates the Qur‘an or defiles the name of the prophet Muhammad is punished with death or life imprisonment. Implemented in 1986 by then dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq, to woo the country’s fundamentalist faction, the laws have become a tool to persecute religious minorities and even Muslims. Almost a thousand people have been charged so far under the law, and hundreds have become its victims.

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