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    Mehmet Y. Yilmaz: The threat of punishment means no freedom

    Hürriyet Haber
    04.10.2007 - 12:23 | Son Güncelleme:

    Speaking yesterday before the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, Preisdent Abdullah Gul commented, during a question and answer session, that the barriers blocking freedom of expression in Turkey were being lifted, and that no one was imprisoned on the basis of their thoughts.

    It is not possible to say that this answer was satisfying for European parliamentary members.

    Because they know that if the threat of imprisonment exists, there is no real freedom.

    And, as the President himself acknowledged, this reality is not altered just because the courts in Turkey are handing down aquittals on these types of cases.

    Aquittals might show that the courts themselves are independent, but it does nothing to lift the threat of punishment.
    Our laws are filled with many different types of these threats. Those are who find themselves in court are those about whom cases have been opened due to what they have said, and not in order to award them, but to punish them.

    As the European Court of Human Rights has underscored through many of its own official rulings, the mere presence of such threatening laws is the biggest barrier in front of freedom of expression and thought.

    So if the current administration is really sincere on this matter, it is clear what it has to do: It must filter out these sorts of laws from the books.
    Anything other than this will be nothing but a "freedom game" that is difficult to believe.


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