Turkey's Parliament Amends Controversial Law Often Used Against Academics





The Turkish parliament voted today, by a tally of 250 to 65, to alter a controversial law that has been used repeatedly against academics, journalists, and writers.

The law, Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, had criminalized the act of “insulting Turkishness.” It will now be amended to instead criminalize “insulting the Turkish nation.” The justice minister will be required to approve any Article 301 prosecutions, under the amended law, and the maximum jail term for offenders will be reduced to two years from three.

Critics of Article 301, including human-rights groups and European Union officials, who hold the key to Turkey’s hopes of joining the 27-nation bloc, say the law has been used to limit freedom of speech. Some of those same critics dismissed today’s changes as merely cosmetic....


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