Turkey Brings Another Case Against an Ethnic Armenian

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A Turkish court has opened a case against an Armenian-Turkish journalist for his comments on a six-month sentence it gave him earlier for denigrating Turkish identity, lawyers involved in bringing the case said Sunday.

The Istanbul court was acting after a group of nationalist lawyers asked the court to file a case against Hrant Dink, editor in chief of the bilingual Turkish and Armenian weekly Agos, and three Agos journalists, saying that the journalists ''tried to influence the judiciary'' through their editorials.

Mr. Dink, an Armenian who was born in Turkey, was sentenced to six months in jail by an Istanbul court in October for comments in an article he wrote against Article 301 of a revised penal code, which allows prosecutors to pursue cases against writers and scholars for ''insulting Turkish identity.''

The case is now before the Court of Appeals, one of several such freedom of speech cases that have highlighted European Union concerns about Turkey's efforts to become a member.

European officials say that such court cases are likely to hinder Turkey's progress toward full membership.

About 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks in 1915 during World War I. While historians are widely agreed that the 1915 massacres constituted genocide, the subject remains taboo in Turkey, which says the killings were related to World War I clashes after Armenian militants joined forces with Russia.

The nationalist Lawyers Unity Association asked the court to bring the case against the four journalists, who face jail terms of nine months to 4 1/2 years, if convicted.

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