In their announcement, the association underscored that about 100 journalists were imprisoned as detainees or convicts based on Articles 6 and 7 of the TMK ("Disclosure and Publication" and "Terrorist Organizations" respectively).
"Turkey brings up the rear in terms of press freedom. We cannot speak of democracy in a country that lacks freedom of thought and press freedom. The wide scope of Articles 6 and 7 of the TMK and their vague expressions open the door to interpretations that criminalize journalism and publishing activities. Press and publishing workers and their activities are being harmed the most by these provisions".
Deputy Oktay Ekşi of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) submitted a proposal to parliament on 2 January to remove articles 6 and 7 TMK. Oktay made the following points:
* According to Article 6, it is accounted for as a crime to "announce that the crimes of a terrorist organization are aimed at certain persons".
* In addition, "disclosing or publishing the identity of officials on anti-terrorist duties, or identifying such persons as targets" is considered a crime carrying imprisonment of between one and three years.
*Another activity accounted for as a crime is "printing or publishing leaflets and declarations of terrorist organizations".
* Article 7 foresees the punishment of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization". This provision is unnecessary because of regulation with the same aim already included in the criminal law.
Moreover, the regulation decrees that employees of press and publication outlets can be convicted to a monetary fine corresponding to imprisonment of between 1,000 and 10,000 days even if they did not participate in the action or, in other words, "did not commit an offence". This is meaningless in terms of the principle of "individual punishment".
The Turkey Publishers Association informed the parties in parliament that they appreciated the amendment proposal as submitted by Ekşi.
In a letter sent to the parties, the association referred to the reasons given in the proposal and emphasized that the TMK that has been applied for more than 20 years now did not reach its aim. To the contrary, the law was the reason for easy arrests and convictions of "innocent people who bear witness to the social conscience", the association stressed.
The Steering Board of the Turkey Publishers Association asked the political parties to support a quick enactment of Ekşi's proposal. (AS/VK)