|Turkey : New report highlights ongoing censorship as Pamuk trial adjourned|
On the same day that the trial of renowned novelist Orhan Pamuk for 'insulting Turkishness' was adjourned, a new report details the extent to which violations of freedom of expression and association continue in Turkey.
The report 'Freedom of Expression and Association in Turkey ', published by KHRP, concludes that, "Much remains to be done before Turkey could be set to meet European standards on civil and political rights." The report gives an authoritative and detailed account of the problems faced by writers, human rights defenders, trade unions, NGO representatives and others in Turkey today.
Pamuk is facing charges brought under Article 301(1) of the new Turkish Penal Code which states: "A person who explicitly insults being a Turk, the Republic or Turkish Grand National Assembly, shall be imposed to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of six months to three years." The charges relate to comments made by Pamuk to a Swiss newspaper in February 2005 concerning Armenian and Kurdish genocides. If found guilty, he would face up to three years imprisonment.
Pamuk has been unrepentant about his comments, stating in October, "I repeat, I said loud and clear that one million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in Turkey . Whether it should be called 'genocide' or 'mass murder'. or something else, has to be decided by experts."
The case is seen as problematic for Turkey which is keen to improve its human rights image as part of accession to the EU. The EU's enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, and several MEPs have strongly criticised Turkey for bringing the charges against Pamuk, accusing the State of suppressing Mr Pamuk's freedom of speech.
KHRP, in conjunction with the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC), sent a trial observation delegation to observe the trial and monitor compliance with international rule of law standards. A trial observation report is forthcoming.
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