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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Amnesty International & Turkey

This is extracted from the text of Amnesty International‘s Human Rights Action Centre:

Here in Britain there are people who say that the world’s first ever concentration camps were conceived and run by the British. There are people who say this country should apologise for its role in the Atlantic slave trade. And there are people who say that Britain is currently engaged in an illegal war of conquest in Iraq.

You and I may agree or disagree with these ideas and views. But the real point is, that we are all free to discuss them. We all have a right to express our opinions about our country and its institutions, both past and present.

In Turkey – a country currently in negotiations for a place in the EU – there is no such freedom of expression. Because in Turkey there is a law called Article 301. This law says that anyone who ‘denigrates Turkishness’ or the Government of Turkey can be sent to prison for up to three years.

Amnesty International believes that Article 301 is an untenable law; that it is being used to muzzle peaceful dissenting opinions within Turkey; and that it poses a direct threat to one of the most fundamental of human rights – the right to freedom of expression.

That is why we are calling for the abolition of Article 301. And I am hoping you will support our campaign today . . .

At present, a number of Turkish writers, journalists, publishers, artists and human rights defenders are facing charges under 301. Article 301 is being used to repress, to silence, to intimidate. You can help, through Amnesty, to have it repealed.

2 Responses to “Amnesty International & Turkey”

  1. John says:

    Hi. Free to speak in UK? We can’t really say what we think about the Queen, can we now??

    jb says: Well, you can’t, obviously, John. But I don’t think the rest of us have much trouble in that direction.

  2. John Matthew says:

    Hi John,

    Here in India too there are laws like the TADA (terrorist and disruptive activities prevention act) that tend to lean towards the draconian.

    Why shouldn’t the Brits talk against the queen?


    jb says: Probably because the old bat gets confused when people aren’t fawning all over her. This is not an ageist remark. It was exactly the same when she was younger.