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Turkish Intellectuals Urge End To Limits On Freedom

Orhan Pamuk leaving a Turkish courtroom on 16 December (epa) 26 December 2005 -- A group of Turkish writers, academics, journalists, and artists today called on the government to rescind laws that limit freedom of expression.

The group of 169 intellectuals issued a statement urged the government to do away with a law that makes it a crime to insult the Turkish republic, "Turkishness," or state institutions.

Award-winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk has been charged under that law in a case that has sparked European Union criticism.

The group called Pamuk's trial "a grave interference in our country's democratization process."

Pamuk was charged with insulting the country after telling a Swiss newspaper in February that "30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it."