Germany welcomes Turkey's change to insult law

Türkiye Materials 30 April 2008 20:48 (UTC +04:00)

Germany welcomed Ankara's amendments on Wednesday to a law punishing "insults to Turkishness" as an "important" step towards improving basic rights, repoted the dpa.

Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Andreas Peschke said in Berlin that when the amendments took effect, it would be more difficult to prosecute writers and journalists.

He said Berlin expected this would lead to "a significant strengthening" of free speech in Turkey.

He spoke the same day as the Turkish parliament altered Article 301 of the criminal code, which formerly made it an offence to "insult Turkishness."

The new offence is "insulting the Turkish nation," reduces the maximum sentence from three to two years, and makes the opening of court cases subject to approval by the justice minister.