Council of Europe tells Turkey to improve freedom of expression
(Brussels, 23 April 2013) The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) today told Turkey to bring its law into line with international freedom of expression standards. The PACE resolution comes after Amnesty International’s call in March this year for the Turkish authorities to reform anti-terrorism laws that have allowed political activists and journalists to be imprisoned for making political speeches, attending peaceful demonstrations and associating with registered political organisations.
Today’s resolution passed by a large majority, and called on Turkey to change its laws to meet international standards on the right to freedom of expression following the Turkish Parliament’s adoption of the ‘Fourth judicial package’ of legislative reforms earlier this month.
In its resolution, PACE appealed to Turkey to overturn Penal Code Article 301 on ‘Denigration of the Turkish nation’ and Article 125 which criminalises defamation. Both are used to suppress dissent in Turkey. PACE also challenged Turkey to “review the definitions of offences related to terrorism and membership of a criminal organisation in law in line with the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights.”
Amnesty International’s March 2013 report Turkey: Decriminalise Dissent, Time to deliver on the right to freedom of expression, pressed the country to abolish Articles 301 and 125 of the Penal Code.
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