30 January 1998


Concern over new law which would curb freedom of religious expression

Incident details

legal action

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - Following is the full text of a 29 January 1998 letter
sent by ARTICLE 19 to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe. The
letter expresses concern at a new law under consideration in Turkey which
would curb freedom of religious expression.

"ARTICLE 19 is extremely concerned about reports that a new law under the
Criminal Code under active consideration in Turkey would reinstate
legislation curbing freedom of religious expression, thereby contravening
Articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which
Turkey is a party.

"It has been suggested that the new law would be along the lines of the
discredited Article 163 of the Turkish Criminal Code, abolished in 1991,
which placed unacceptable limitations on freedom of expression.

"As you will know, recently millions of Turkish citizens have, effectively,
been disenfranchised by the Turkish Constitutional Court's judgement
outlawing the Welfare Party and banning its democratically elected
representatives from holding office for the next five years. We believe that
this judgement, if appealed, will be found by the European Court directly to
contravene the European Convention on Human Rights .

"We urge the Council of Europe to make clear to the Turkish authorities at
the highest level that the introduction of new legislation that would
undoubtedly breach the human rights guarantees in the European Convention is

"I hope that you will take action as soon as possible on this important matter."

Similar appeals should be sent to:

Appeals To

Dr Daniel Tarschys
Secretary General
Council of Europe
Palais de l'Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex, France
Fax: +33 3 88 41 2781

Please copy appeals to the source if possible.


ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression
6-8 Amwell Street
United Kingdom
info (@) article19.org
Fax:+44 20 7278 7660
More from Turkey
  • Justice Monitoring Report: Freedom of expression trials in Turkey

    Given the unprecedented number of journalists in prison in Turkey at the moment and the increas- ing number of freedom of expression trials, trial monitoring has become an important activity for Turkish civil society over the past few years.

  • Freedom on the Net 2017: Turkey

    Wikipedia was permanently blocked over articles on Turkey’s involvement in the Syrian civil war

  • Freedom of the Press 2017: Turkey

    The government, using enhanced powers under a state of emergency, carried out a massive purge of media outlets accused of links to an attempted military coup in July.