HDP MP Paylan: Article 301 of Turkish Penal Code is Coming Back

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Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakır MP Garo Paylan, against whom two summaries of proceedings were filed for violating the article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), has submitted a parliamentary question directed at Minister of Justice Abdülhamit Gül.

“With the 2008 amendments on the article 301, which is one of the most important offenders of the Hrant Dink murder, opening an investigation for violating the article is subjected to the permission of the Minister of Justice.

“This amendment prevented the arbitrary use of the article 301 only for a short time. In the recent period, the Minister of Justice unquestioningly grants permissions for investigations.”

“For what reasons did you grant permission for investigations?”

Paylan has asked the following questions to the Minister:

  • Since 2008, how many investigations as per article 301 have been granted permission by the Minister of Justice each year respectively?
  • What is the number of people, against whom an investigation was launched as per the article 301; how many lawsuits were filed; how many trials are continuing; how many people have been sentenced each year since 2002? How many files are pending for permission?
  • How many people were investigated for “insulting Turkishness”, how many cases were finalized with acquittal and how many of them were finalized with conviction each year respectively since 2002?
  • As the Minister of Justice, which criteria do you use to determine the boundaries of criticism when you permit an investigation?
  • How many investigations did you permit against MPs? How is the distribution of these summaries of proceedings to the political parties?
  • As the Minister of Justice, for what reasons did you permit the investigation request for my immunity to be lifted?
  • How many lawsuits have been filed against Turkey at the ECtHR (European Court of the Human Rights) over the violation of freedom of expression because of the article 301? In how many of these cases, the ECtHR ruled that article 10 of the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights) is violated?

Turkish Penal Code (TCK) Article no. 301

A person who publicly degrades Turkish Nation, State of the Republic of Turkey, Grand National Assembly of Turkey the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the judicial bodies of the State shall be sentenced a penalty of imprisonment for a term of six months to two years. A person who publicly degrades the military or security organisations shall be sentenced according to the provision set out in paragraph one. The expression of an opinion for the purpose of criticism does not constitute an offence.

“Article 301 provided basis for hate crimes”

Diyarbakır MP Paylan has said in the parliamentary question, “The article 301 has long been objected for having an essence that prevents freedoms of thought and expression and being against democratization and human rights” and added,

“The article 301 and previous articles that were equivalent to the article 301 have been used by the political power in a way that provide a basis for hate crimes.” (PT/VK)