Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Turk jailed for banning Jews and Armenians

A Turkish court last week sentenced a man to five months in prison for "insulting a section of society" after he put up a banner saying Jews and Armenians were not allowed to enter his business, Ynet News reports (via Harry's Place)

The ruling, which followed a complaint by a local human rights group, marks a change of public attitude towards minorities in European Union-aspirant Turkey.

Human rights groups and the EU have long accused Turkey of discrimination against its minorities.

Niyazi Capa, who heads a cultural association in the city of Eskisehir, west of Ankara, put up the banner to protest against Israel's offensive in Gaza earlier this year, which drew widespread condemnation in predominantly Muslim Turkey.

However, the easing of curbs on freedom of expression and other liberal reforms as a result of Ankara's drive to meet European standards have opened up debate in areas that were previously taboo.

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