Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Insulting Turkishness

Turkey's Parliament, which still hopes to move toward EU entry, wants to amend the law against insulting Turkishness:
"Working together, Deputy Prime Minister (and former minister of justice) Cemil Cicek and incumbent Minister of Justice Mehmet Ali Sahin announced on January 7 that under the amended provision, prosecutors must obtain permission from the Justice Ministry to be able to press charges and that the ambiguous word 'Turkishness' would be replaced with 'the Turkish nation' (Today's Zaman, January 9)."

It's not clear to me what the difference would be in practice between insulting Turkishness and insulting the Turkish nation, though the latter term is perhaps more concrete. The other part of the reform, requiring the permission of the Justice Ministry, is more useful in practice. I get the sense a lot of the prosecutions for this offense come from local nationalist prosecutors. If the government has to keep the law on the books for political reasons, this would at least restrict enforcement.



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