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    Gul in Strasbourg: "Moderates need to be as courageous as the radicals"

    Hürriyet Haber
    04.10.2007 - 12:19 | Son Güncelleme:

    President Abdullah Gul yesterday arrived in the French city of Strasbourg, where he became the first Turkish president to address the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), touching on a range of matters that have held international interest with regards to Turkey.

    Arriving at the Council of Europe's parliamentary buildings, President Gul was welcomed by Rene van der Linden, the Dutch politician who currently serves as President of the Council of Europe.
     
    Gul's speech to PACE members addressed questions over perceptions and realities of freedom of expression in Turkey, the role of the military in Turkish society, headscarves, moderates versus radicals, Armenian allegations of genocide, the Turkish election system, proposed changes to the current Turkish Constitution, and even Abdullah Ocalan.
     
    Touching on radicalism within Turkey, Gul said: "In many societies, there is deep polarization surrounding cultural and religious differences. Radicals are exploiting their differences in a very irresponsible way. The time has come for moderates to be as courageous and daring as extremely possible."
     
    On the question of the controversial amendment 301 to the Turkish penal code, Gul noted: "No one in Turkey is imprisoned due to their thoughts or things they have expressed. Most of you may think that Orhan Pamuk and Elif Safak are in prison currently. This is unfair with regards to Turkey. These are reasons for which I want amendment 301 to be changed."
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