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Revised Turkish penal code comes into force as part of EU deal

[JURIST] As anticipated [JURIST report], Turkey has implemented a revised penal code in satisfaction of one of two pre-conditions for its eventual accession to the European Union. Turkish president Ahmet Necdet Sezer [official website] has yet to formally approve the revision, however, and changes to the text may be in the offing after claims by opposition aprties that last-minute measures added by ministers may be problematic for secularists in the overwhelmingly Muslim country. While the new law increases protection for women and punitive measures against "honour killings" of girls, it also stiffens penalties for "insulting" state institutions. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) [official website] has expressed concern that some of the code's language, such as that calling for prison sentences for those who disregard the state's "fundamental national interests," is too vague and open to abuse by zealous state prosecutors. The second pre-condition for Turkey's accession to the EU is the extension of Turkey's existing treaties to cover the 10 countries that became EU member states in May last year [official EU timeline]. Turkey is not expected to be allowed to join the bloc for at least another 9 years. The Financial Times has more.

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