Report: Turkish president approves amendment enhancing free speech

May 7, 2008 22:29


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Turkey's state-run media say the president has approved an amendment enhancing free speech. The Anatolia news agency says President Abdullah Gul signed the amendment Wednesday. It changes a law restricting free speech that had been used to prosecute many intellectuals, including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk. Turkey's parliament approved the amendment to Article 301 of the penal code last week. The president had to provide final approval before the amendment could take effect. Previously, the penal code barred insults to "Turkishness," a vague term used by many prosecutors to clamp down on dissidents. The EU has welcomed the change, and Turkey hopes its chances to join the bloc will improve now.

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