FIVE MONTHS IN PRISON FOR BANNER SAYING "JEWS AND ARMENIANS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER"

/PanARMENIAN.Net/
28.05.2009 01:01 GMT+04:00

/PanARMENIAN.Net/ A Turkish court on May 27 sentenced a man to five
months in prison for "insulting a section of society" after he put
up a banner saying Jews and Armenians were not allowed to enter
his business.

The ruling, which followed a complaint by a local human rights group,
marks a change of public attitude towards minorities in European
Union-aspirant Turkey, .

Human rights groups and the EU have long accused Turkey of
discrimination against its minorities, haaretz.com reports.

Niyazi Capa, who heads a cultural association in the city of Eskisehir,
west of Ankara, put up the banner to protest against Israel's offensive
in Gaza earlier this year, which drew widespread condemnation in
predominantly Muslim Turkey.

However, the easing of curbs on freedom of expression and other liberal
reforms as a result of Ankara's drive to meet European standards have
opened up debate in areas that were previously taboo.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday criticized state
policies that led to the expulsion of tens of thousands of Christian
ethnic Greeks in the 20th century as "fascist."

Erdogan's comments, the first of its kind by a prime minister,
infuriated nationalists and other elements of Turkey's conservative
establishment.