A long way to go

Freedom of speech is far from guaranteed in Turkey. A recent case highlighted the fickle nature of the state:

A court in Istanbul yesterday acquitted Turkish author and journalist Perihan Magden of charges of turning people against military service by defending the rights of a conscientious objector in a weekly magazine column.

The judge ruled that Magden’s article amounted to “heavy criticism conveyed within the scope of freedom of expression” and did not constitute a crime.

Magden was among a string of writers and journalists to stand trial for expressing opinions, despite pressure from the European Union – which Turkey hopes to join – to scrap repressive laws and improve freedoms.

Famed author Orhan Pamuk faced similar charges last year but was acquitted.

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