Turkish Professor Gets Suspended Sentence for Insulting Nation's Founder

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A professor of politics and political theory at Gazi University, in Ankara, Turkey, was convicted on Monday of insulting the memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish Republic, and was given a 15-month suspended prison sentence.

The professor, Atilla Yayla, had been charged by the public prosecutor in the coastal city of Izmir, Turkey, following comments he made during a public panel discussion there in November 2006.

Speaking by telephone from England on Monday, where he has been spending a sabbatical year teaching at the University of Buckingham, Mr. Yayla said he planned to appeal the ruling.

While the sentence was suspended, Mr. Yayla could still face imprisonment if he makes any statements over the next two years that a court-appointed "expert" determines have violated the law, a lawyer who has represented the professor said.

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Lisa Kazmier - 1/30/2008

What did he say???

James W Loewen - 1/30/2008

This man is a hero.