[JURIST] New Turkish President Abdullah Gul [BBC profile] Wednesday proposed [speech text] amending a law that makes it a crime to insult Turkish national identity. Gul said at a Council of Europe [official website] meeting in Strasbourg that the law had hindered Turkey's attempts to join the EU, and that he expects the ruling AK Party [party website] will soon consider changing it. This may represent a change from the previous policy espoused by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan [official profile], who said [JURIST report] in 2006 that there were no plans to amend the insult law. Gul had personally pressed for revision of the law [JURIST report] while still foreign minister in the Erdogan government. Gul also defended Turkey's human rights record at the Wednesday meeting. BBC News has more.
Many prominent Turkish journalists, authors, and academics have been investigated and tried for insulting "Turkishness" [JURIST report] under Article 301 [Amnesty backgrounder; JURIST news archive] of Turkey's penal code [text, in Turkish]. In 2006, Armenian journalist Hrant Dink [BBC profile] was tried [JURIST report] for allegedly violating Article 301 by writing about the killings of an estimated million Ottoman Armenians [ANI backgrounder] in the early 20th century. Turkish novelists Elif Shafak [Armeniapedia profile] and Orhan Pamuk [JURIST news archive] have also been charged under the article for discussing the alleged Armenian genocide.