Turkey: Two journalists guilty of offending national identity

Istanbul, 11 Oct. (AKI) - Turkish newspaper editor Arat Dink and newspaper owner Serkis Seropyan have been found guilty of "insulting Turkishness" under the country's controversial penal code.

Dink, the son of the murdered journalist Hrant Dink, is executive editor of the Armenian weekly, Agos, in Istanbul.

His father, Hrant Dink, former editor in chief of the same newspaper was murdered, allegedly by ultranationalist Ogun Samst in January this year. The murder trial is continuing.

Dink and Seropyan were charged for republishing an interview Hrant Dink gave to British press agency Reuters in July 2006.

In the interview Dink referred explicitly to the mass killings of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire that has never been recognised as genocide by the Turkish government.

The issue is currently being considered by the US Congress and a House of Representatives committee on Wednesday passed a resolution to name the mass killings a genocide.

Both newspaper men were also accused of the same crime for having published a petition in Agos entitled "A signature against Article 301" designed to raise pressure for the repeal of the article.

The men were found guilty under the penal code and sentenced to a year in prison but the sentences were commuted because they have not committed any previous crimes.

Hrant Dink was charged under the same code for denigrating Turkishness under article 301 of the Turkish penal code.

During his own court hearing, his son Arat accused judges of contributing to the murder of his father by making him a high-profile target.


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