Turkey: Human Rights

House of Lords written question – answered on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of Lord Avebury Lord Avebury Spokesperson in the Lords (Civil Liberties), Home Affairs, Spokesperson in the Lords (Africa), Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether Article 301 of Turkey's penal code, which makes it a criminal offence to insult the Turkish identity and prevents free discussion of the circumstances in which Armenians lost their lives in 1915—16, is compatible with membership of the European Union.

Photo of Lord Triesman Lord Triesman Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The European Commission has said that,

"if the Turkish Penal Code continues to be interpreted in a restrictive manner, then it may need to be amended in order to safeguard freedom of expression in Turkey".

We endorse this view and continue to press the Turkish authorities to address the issue of Article 301, both in the context of Turkey's accession to the EU and for the benefit of Turkish society.

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