Rehn: Is Turkey provoking the EU?, Belgium
Sept 14 2005

Rehn: Is Turkey provoking the EU?

In Short:

The EU’s enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said that Turkey’s
decision to prosecute the country’s best-known writer breaches the
European Convention on Human Rights.

Brief News:

Turkey has decided to begin a trial against the novelist Orhan Pamuk
on 16 December 2005 – the date of an official EU summit. Olli Rehn
said that this “may not be just a coincidence” but a “provocation”
from Turkey just a few weeks before the official negotiations on
Turkey’s possible entry in to the EU are set to start. Rehn also said
that this court case raised serious questions over the implementation
of Turkey’s new penal code.

In an interview with a Swiss newspaper, Orhan Pamuk is accused of
insulting the Turkish state with comments on killings of Armenians
and Kurds. Turkey’s new penal code, adopted in 2005 at the insistence
of the EU, classifies denigrating Turkey’s national identity as a
crime punishable by prison. Freedom of speech advocates had already
warned that the clause on national identity in the new penal code was
not clear enough and could result in the imprisonment of artists and

The Commission continues to monitor human rights issues in Turkey
closely, and expects the accession negotiations to start as
scheduled, on 3 October. However, “the accession process will take
from 10 to 15 years”, said Rehn.