A Turkish court today handed a political science professor a 15-month suspended sentence for insulting the country's founder. Attila Yayla had suggested that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was not as progressive as official portrayals indicate. The conviction heightens scrutiny of the country's commitment to freedom of expression as it pursues EU membership, reports the BBC.
Lawyers for Yayla, a prominent liberal, immediately said they will appeal. "I am ready for everything, whatever the result," Yayla said. Insulting Ataturk's memory is a crime under Turkish law, as is insulting "Turkishness." The latter law has been used repeatedly to prosecute writers and other intellectuals, including Nobel Prize-winner Orhan Pamuk.