VIENNA (Armenpress)–The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Miklos Haraszti, Thursday called on Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to urgently repeal Article 301 of Turkey’s Penal Code, which makes it an offence to "insult Turkish identity" and which continues to target journalists with dissenting views on history.
Haraszti’s wrote to the Prime Minister following the suspended one-year jail sentence on 11 October of Arat Dink and Serkis Seropyan, the editor-in-chief and owner of the Armenian-Turkish language weekly Agos. The two were convicted for reprinting remarks made by murdered journalist Hrant Dink, the father of Arat, in which he referred to the 1915 killings of Armenia’s as "genocide", a term contested by the Turkish authorities.
"This case proves that Article 301 is still being used to prosecute journalists for discussing issues of obvious public interest," said Haraszti in the letter. "The failure to abolish this provision potentially exposes dissenters to prosecution and violence."
Hrant Dink, a prominent Armenian-Turkish journalist, was shot outside his Istanbul office in January 2007. He was appealing against a prior conviction under Article 301 at the time, and was co-defendant in the now adjudicated case.
"I have commended the swift action Turkish law enforcement authorities took after the murder of Hrant Dink. Another important contribution to avoiding similar crimes would be to repeal Article 301, which depicts unconventional thinkers as enemies of ‘Turkishness’, and turns them into an object of hatred in the eyes of fanatics and extremists," said Haraszti.