Pamuk Case: EAFJD says prosecution’s decision should trigger end of anti Armenian laws in Turkey

BRUSSELS–The European Armenian Federation (EAFJD) welcomed the decision of an Istanbul Court this week to end the prosecution of Orhan Pamuk for his statement on the Armenian genocide.

The Turkish Ministry of Justice–in a letter to the court–affirmed that it would not provide the requested authorization for the trial to move forward. As a result–the Court chose to drop the suit against Pamuk.

Responding to the news–the European Armenian Federation said that it is pleased the Turkish State decided to end this individual blow to freedom of expression–but stressed the court did not repudiate the law under which Pamuk was charged–a new law that was–ironically–slipped into an EU reform package–or even admit that the charges were wrong. More disturbingly–numerous other writers and journalists still have cases pending under similar charges–and the individual action toward Pamuk should not allow their fates to be ignored. EAFJD also emphasized there exist numerous Turkish statutes currently in force that censor freedom of opinion.

EAFJD also pointed to the Pamuk case as evidence of the Turkish government bending to European Union deman’s–and called the Union to persist in maintaining its European standards before Turkey.

"Just as clearly–each time the European Union evades its responsibilities by either compromising its values or waiving its standards–Ankara interprets this retreat as encouragement that its human rights violations can be committed with impunity. This episode demonstrates that Turkey will have to respond positively to forceful European Union deman’s that it recognize the Armenian genocide," stressed EAFJD Director Laurent Leylekian.

"Therefore–we call on the European Commission to increase its efforts toward assessing Turkish law and judicial practices–at all levels from the Constitution to criminal statutes–that are still in force and that have provided a legal basis for the extermination and the spoliation of Armenia’s."

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