Turkey plans to give the mandate over implementation of the controversial article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code to the decision of President Abdullah Gul.
"Right now we are looking at changes that would have the permission for prosecution and investigation be moved to the offices of the President rather than the Ministry of Justice. More so than who gives permission, it is the contents of the article which are important here. In some nations, the law states that the state president needs to give the go ahead", the Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin told reporters on Tuesday. The European Union has been calling Turkey to amend the article 301, which has been the basis for charges against past cases against Turkish intellectuals such as Hrant Dink, Elif Safak, and Orhan Pamuk. Sahin, also said the deputy parliament leaders of AKP will decide when to send the proposal of the amendment to the parliament. According to Sahin's statement, the article's new status would be as follows: Article 301: The insulting of the Turkish people, the Turkish Republic, as well as the institutions and organs of the state 1-A person insulting the Turkish people, the Turkish Republic, the State, the Turkish Parliament, the government of the Turkish Republic, the justice organs of the state, as well as the military or policing organizations of the state, will receive anywhere between 6 months to 2 years prison sentence.
2-Statements explaining thoughts which are expressed with the purpose of criticism are not to constitute a crime.
3-Any prosecution based on article 301 is to be tied to specific permission from the office of the President of the Turkish Republic.