Diyarbakır lawyers acquitted in trial over remarks on Armenian genocide, Kurdistan

A Turkish court has acquitted administrators with the bar association of the southwestern Diyarbakir province accused of “insulting the Turkish nation” over their statements referencing the Armenian genocide and Kurdistan, Evrensel newspaper reported on Monday.

A Diyarbakır court acquitted all nine defendants in the case, including Diyarbakır Bar Association President Nahit Eren and former president Ahmet Özmen, the newspaper said.

The group was on trial for violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which makes it illegal to insult Turkey, the Turkish nation, Turkish government institutions, or Turkish national heroes such as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

The charges levelled at the current and past administrations with the association were based on reports and press statements they signed off on between 2016- 2018, which expressed sorrow on the anniversary of the Armenian genocide and condemned a lawmaker’s temporary suspension from parliament for referencing “Kurdistan” during a speech in the national assembly.

The Diyarbakır court ruled that the references failed to constitute and crime ordered for all nine defendants in the case to be compensated some 10,000 liras ($725) each in damages.

Turkey denies the accusations of genocide over the systematic mass murder and expulsion of civilian Armenians by the Ottoman Empire government in 1915, saying hundreds of thousands of Armenians and Turks died in clashes after ethnic Armenians in Turkey sided with Russia in the war. It says any killing were not systemic or orchestrated and has strongly objected to all attempts at recognition internationally.

Ankara is highly sensitive to the word Kurdistan, with civil servants having been arrested or suspended from their positions for using it. The government links the term to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey for 40 years.

This block is broken or missing. You may be missing content or you might need to enable the original module.