TURKEY TURNS DOWN EDITOR'S APPEAL

Yerkir
02.05.2006 16:38

YEREVAN (YERKIR) - A Turkish court has rejected an appeal by a
prominent journalist against a ruling that found him guilty of
insulting Turkishness.

Hrant Dink, an Armenian living in Turkey, was given a six-month
suspended sentence last October. He had written a newspaper article
which addressed the mass killings of Ottoman Armenians nine decades
ago.

In February, the chief prosecutor's office at the Appeals Court
considered Dink's case and recommended that the remarks were in no
way insulting. But now, in a surprise development, the court itself
has chosen to ignore that interpretation and ruled that the substance
of the charge still stands.

Dink, the editor of the Agos newspaper that appears in Turkish and
Armenian, was first found guilty of insulting Turkishness last year
when a court ruled that one of his articles described Turkish blood
as dirty.

Hrant Dink always denied his words meant any such thing and argued
his column was in fact aimed at improving the difficult relationship
between Turks and Armenians.

The case will now go back to the local court that first heard it,
and Dink could face a retrial.

European Union officials have expressed serious concern about the
article of law that was used against Hrant Dink and several dozen
other writers in Turkey.