Turkey: Professor who criticized Ataturk charged

March 13, 2007 15:46


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A prosecutor on Tuesday pressed charges against a professor of political science for allegedly insulting the legacy of the revered founder of modern Turkey. Nationalists had already declared Atilla Yayla a traitor and his university has suspended him for daring to criticize Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, whose ideas are still the republic's most sacred principles 68 years after his death. Prosecutor Ahmet Guven on Tuesday filed charges against Yayla for allegedly "insulting the legacy of Ataturk." Yayla could receive up to three years in prison if tried and convicted. No trial date was set yet. Turkey, which is aspiring to join the European Union, has been roundly condemned for not doing enough to curb extreme nationalist sentiments and to protect freedom of expression.

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