ORAN: 'SOON LAWYERS WILL BE IN ARTICLE 288'S CROSSHAIRS'

New Anatolian, Turkey
June 1 2006

Professor Baskin Oran, the author of disputed report on minorities
now facing allegations of trying to interfere with the judiciary,
warned yesterday that lawyers would soon face similar legal challenges
on the same legal grounds targeting him.

According to Oran, Article 288 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which
he called "tragicomic," was being used almost every day by the public
prosecutors to start dozens of cases against people.

"Such an attitude has just one aim: to intimidate people," he added,
explaining how the prosecutor started the probe against him. "I'm
afraid the public prosecutors will soon start charging defense lawyers
too, because they're also trying to affect judges with their defenses."

"In February a story appeared in a newspaper (Radikal) quoting my
defense, with the headline 'The real separatist is the prosecutor',"
he explained. "In the story, some parts of my defense were quoted. So
the public prosecutor is now charging me with trying to interfere
with the judiciary. But this is tragicomic, because I was cleared of
those charges a while ago."

According to Oran, there is a dangerous rash of investigations by
public prosecutors, and he cited the case of Armenian daily Agos
Editor in Chief Hrant Dink.

"Those charges are mostly based on Article 288," he claimed. "The
same thing also happened to Dink. You know he faced the same kind
of charges. In one of his columns in Agos, he used parts of his own
defense, and that led the prosecutors to file further charges against
him. This is ridiculous."