Publisher Faces Prison for Book on Armenians

Accused of 'insulting Turkishness' with book urging reconciliation
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2007 11:03 AM CST
A parade in Istanbul, where a publisher goes on trial today for "insulting Turkishness."   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A Turkish publisher goes on trial today in Istanbul for violating that country's controversial law against "insulting Turkishness." Ragip Zarakolu is accused of contravening the notorious Article 301 by publishing a book by a London-based author promoting reconciliation between Turks and Armenians. The trial of a relatively moderate publisher is further damaging Turkey's hopes of being invited to join the EU.

Reform-minded lawmakers have been promising for months to scrap or to weaken the article, and yesterday Turkey's justice minister reiterated the importance of protecting free speech. Yet observers say little progress has been made. In 2005 Orhan Pamuk, who later won a Nobel Prize, narrowly escaped a prison sentence for the same offense.