Publishers Call for an End to Turkish Penal Code Criminalizing Recognition of Armenian Genocide

GENEVA (IFEX)–In a letter to the Dutch Presidency of the European Union (EU) and to the President of the EU Commission–Romano Prodi–as well as incoming President Jos-Manuel Barroso–the International Publishers’ Association (IPA) seeks their assistance in calling on the Turkish authorities to abandon the criminalization of the recognition of the Armenian genocide–a measure jeopardizing freedom of expression and freedom to publish.

According to Article 306 of the new Turkish Penal Code adopted on September 27–a citizen who deman’s the withdrawal of Turkish soldiers from Cyprus or declares that the Armenian genocide actually took place during the First World War can be pursued by virtue of Article 306. Prison sentences range from "three to ten years."

IPA President Ana Maria Cabanellas said: "The many reform packages adopted in Turkey thus far are in part designed to improve Turkey’s freedom of expression record by amending various provisions of Turkey’s major legislation. IPA welcomes these changes. However–it is fundamental that these legislative measures are implemented effectively. This effort must now include amending Article 306 of the new Penal Code."

The IPA was founded in 1896 and represents the publishing industry world-wide through 78 national–regional–and specialized publishers associations in 66 countries. It is a non-governmental organization with consultative relations with the United Nations. Its constituency is of book and journal publishers world-wide–assembled into 78 publishers associations at national–regional–and specialized levels.

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