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14.3.14

Turkey Dares to Speak of "Freedom of Expression"

The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement in response to Switzerland’s decision earlier this week to appeal a European Court of Human Rights ruling that concluded that the denial of the Armenian genocide is not a crime and is protected under freedom of speech principles.
“In a judgment published on December 17, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had ruled that Switzerland breached Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights on ‘freedom of expression’ in the case of Doğu Perinçek v. Switzerland,” reads the Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.
“We have learned through the written statement by the Swiss Federal Office of Justice on March 11 that Switzerland has decided to object to this judgment and refer it to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR,” added the foreign ministry.
“Having full confidence in the rule of law, we expect that the Grand Chamber will confirm once more and forcefully that ‘freedom of expression,’ which is the building bloc of democratic societies, is safeguarded,” said the statement.(*)
“In this way, we believe that the efforts to politicize the law will be aborted once again,” concluded the statement.

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(*) The statement comes from the country that has been condemned by the European Court of Human (ECHR) for having an article in its Criminal Code that violates freedom of expression. In 2011, the European Court of Human Rights decided that "the scope of the terms under Article 301 of the Criminal Code, as interpreted by the judiciary, is too wide and vague and thus the provision constitutes a continuing threat to the exercise of the right to freedom of expression" and "that Article 301 of the Criminal Code does not meet the “quality of law” required by the Court’s settled case-law, since its unacceptably broad terms result in a lack of foreseeability as to its effects," finding a violation of freedom of expression (Article 10 of ECHR) in the investigation against historian Taner Akçam. Concerning the 2008 amendments, ECHR noted that "despite the replacement of the term “Turkishness” by “the Turkish Nation”, there seems to be no change or major difference in the interpretation of these concepts because they have been understood in the same manner by the Court of Cassation." ("Armeniaca")

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