ISTANBUL: Deputy PM Calls For Action Against Nisanyan


Hurriyet Daily News
Oct 5 2012

Linguist and author Sevan NiÅ~_anyan, in remarks he made about the
Prophet Muhammad while expressing support to the anti-Islam film “The
Innocence of Muslims,” committed a hate crime worthy of prosecution,
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said yesterday.

“Swearing and insults can never be assumed as opinion. Only
ill-spirited people show such delirium,” Bozdag told Anatolia news

Hate crimes

In an article posted to his blog on Sept. 29 titled “Hate Crimes
Should Be Fought,” NiÅ~_anyan defended the American-made film that has
sparked angry and violent demonstrations across the Middle East in the
name of freedom of expression. “Mocking an Arab leader – who claimed
that he contacted God hundreds years ago and who gained political,
financial and sexual profit from this – is not hate crime. Almost
at the level of kindergarten, it is a test case of the thing called
‘freedom of expression,'” his article stated.

Bozdag stated that NiÅ~_anyan’s words amounted to a crime. “I think
prosecutors may have launched the required operations on this issue,
as it is a crime defined within the Turkish Penal Code. If they haven’t
yet, then I’m denouncing it from here – I’m announcing a crime. This
is a typical hate crime. It is hate crime and it is a crime that is
defined in our penal code,” he said, adding that it was his opinion
that NiÅ~_anyan’s piece was aimed at gaining popularity.

Meanwhile, the Armenian Patriarchate’s ecumenical and inter-religious
relations official, Bishop Sahag Masalyan, said NiÅ~_anyan’s
expressions were provocative and offended societal peace, adding that
they did not approve the language used.


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