Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Kaboglu and Prof. Dr. Baskin Oran had been on trial under Article 216/1 for the writing of the report of the Minority Rights and Cultural Rights Working Group.
The two academics had suggested the term "citizenship of Turkey" (or literally "Turkey-ness", in Turkish "Türkiyelik") as a super-identity in their report.
Since 14 November 2005 they have been on trial, with a sentence of between 1.5 and 4.5 years being demanded.
Ankara Public Prosecutor Nadi Türkaslan wrote the indictment. He referred to the concept of "Sevres Paranoia" used in the report, saying:
"In this report, there is great similarity between the demands of minorities and the decisions about minoritis made in the Sevres Treaty which pushed our country into occupation. It is not surprising that in the face of such similarity there is Sevres paranoia."
An Ankara Penal Court had aquitted the two academics of "inciting hatred and hostility" on 10 May, but, following the appeal of Ankara Public Prosecutor Hüseyin Boyrazoglu, the supreme court overturned this decree.
Redefinition of minority apparently causes hatred
In his appeal, Boyrazoglu had said:
"Opening the topic of the nation's integrity for discussion is a utopian approach. 'Turkeyness' cannot be a super-identity. The country cannot deal with that. The mosaic structure which is aimed at [i.e. multiculturalism], will always end in separation."
The 8th Penal Department of the Court of Appeals had decreed that "a new definition of minority will endanger the unitary state and the inseparability of the nation". It added that academics needed to be convicted.
In its justification, the court said that the limits of freedom of criticism and thought had been overstepped with the discussions of super-and sub-identities and that accusations had reached the level of a social danger.
One vote against overruling
Judge Hamdi Yaver Aktan used his vote to oppose the overruling, arguing that "there is no incitement to violence anywhere in the report." He voted for the decision to acquit to be maintained.
The Ankara Penal Court had also decided to drop a case against Kaboglu and Oran, the former president and a former member of the Prime Ministerial Human Rights Advisory Committee respectively, which had been brought under Article 159. (EÖ/AG)