ANKARA - Turkey's parliament passed a reform of its anti-terrorism laws in a vote late on Thursday, narrowing the definition of terrorist propaganda in line with EU demands that it boost freedom of expression.
The reforms coincide with progress in efforts by the government and Kurdish militants to negotiate an end to a 28-year insurgency, but the justice minister rejected the idea that the new laws would facilitate the release of prisoners linked to the rebels.
Turkey has used the legislation widely to prosecute thousands of politicians, activists and journalists, frequently for things they have said or written.
The country regularly tops the list of countries violating the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Commission had called on Ankara to amend its laws to distinguish between incitement to violence and expression of non-violent ideas.
According to the new law only direct incitement to violence will constitute a crime, and justice ministry officials said it was in line with European Court of Human Rights criteria.