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Last Updated: Friday, 22 September 2006, 12:57 GMT 13:57 UK
Turks welcome Shafak's acquittal
Turkish Press

Newspapers in Turkey welcome the acquittal of the novelist Elif Shafak, who had faced charges of "denigrating Turkish national identity" under Article 301 of Turkey's Penal Code.

One commentator calls on the government to introduce moves to suspend 301, whilst another laments that Turkey "has problems with freedom of thought".

There is also concern at the impact on Turkey's international image - especially in Europe - if other such cases come to court.

DERYA SAZAK IN MILLIYET

The government must have the courage to send to parliament a draft that suspends Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code... The judiciary has fulfilled its duty. Now it is the turn of the legislature. Article 301 must be suspended.

MUSTAFA UNAL IN ZAMAN

The verdict does not of course remove the obstacles to freedom of thought. Turkey is still a country which has problems with freedom of thought. It is clear from the Elif Shafak case that the reforms of the past three years have not been enough.

GULAY GOKTURK IN BUGUN

Do not forget that the mechanism which rapidly acquitted Elif Shafak today can rapidly sentence you tomorrow. That's why the issue itself is actually more important than Article 301. It is directly related to being a "state ruled by law" or not.

OKTAY EKSI IN HURRIYET

I wonder if those who claimed that "Turkishness was insulted" in Elif Shafak's novel are ashamed after the acquittal? Leaving that aside, have they ever thought that they caused Turkey, which they claim to love very much, to be seen as "the country where people are on trial facing the threat of imprisonment because of their thoughts"?

ALTAN OYMEN IN RADIKAL

I think the court must be congratulated because it has been timely in preventing any negative outcome, not only for Elif Shafak, but also for justice and Turkey. But does the problem with Article 301 end with this result?

ORAL CALISLAR IN CUMHURIYET

This case is over, but Turkey's problems with freedom of thought and expression continue. The government has a big responsibility here. The judiciary has a big responsibility. The most bitter aspect of the issue is the attitude of the main opposition party CHP [which does not favour suspending 301].

MEHMET ALI BIRAND IN POSTA

The eyes of the world, but especially of Europe, were on this court case... The line between humiliation and criticism within the context of freedom of thought has been drawn, at least in this case. But there are others too. What will happen to them?

FIKRET BILA IN MILLIYET

If you are uncomfortable about or do not agree with what is being written, you too can express your thoughts and write a book. One must counter thoughts with one's own thoughts. Trying to punish this does not mean anything other than occupying the court and the public needlessly, and giving publicity to a writer and his or her book.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




SEE ALSO
Turkish novelist case collapses
21 Sep 06 |  Europe

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