Turkey says amendment to free speech law still on its agenda

The Turkish government assured on Tuesday that Turkey plans to amend a law curbing free speech that has been used to prosecute intellectuals including Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk. Critics have accused the government of delaying the proposed amendment to Article 301 of the penal code, which makes denigrating Turkish identity or insulting the country's institutions a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin insisted, however, that the reform was "still on the table." He did not say when Parliament would consider the amendment - a key condition for Turkey's progress in membership talks with the European Union.