Groups propose changes to law on insulting Turkishness, and some say revoke it

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ISTANBUL -- A group of civic organizations submitted suggestions Thursday for rewording a section of the Turkish penal code under which noted intellectuals and writers have been charged with the crime of insulting the Turkish identity and state.

But some groups broke with the main umbrella organization and said the law need to be revoked, not amended...

Many in Turkey consider the law, known as Article 301, to be at the root of the murder of the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink last month. According to this argument, his conviction under the article, for comments he made about the mass killings of Armenians by Turkish forces in the early 20th century, branded him a traitor in the eyes of many Turks and put his life in jeopardy.

For Turkey, the Armenian question is among the thorniest issues of free speech, since a characterization of the killings as genocide is often interpreted by the courts as an "insult against the Turkish state" under Article 301.

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