Tue 1 Jan to Thu 28 Feb 2013

Turkey allows using foreign languages in court

Turkey allows the use of foreign languages in court after the parliament passed a law on January 24 allowing defendants to speak Kurdish in court. The law addresses a key demand of Kurdish politicians in order to advance peace talks with Ankara.

The Turkish government submitted in late 2012 an amendment to a law to parliament that would allow defendants to use a language other than Turkish in court. 

"A person will be able to defend themselves in court in the language in which they can best express themselves," Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc announced on November 5. "The prime minister has given the order to our justice minister to develop this and send it rapidly to parliament to become law," he added.

The move was a key demand of around 700 jailed Kurdish rebels, who launched a hunger strike in September in protest against the Turkish courts' refusal to allow defendants to express their arguments in Kurdish. 

Turkey is in process of bringing hundreds of militants to trial over allegations of involvement with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a guerrilla movement that has been fighting for the autonomy of Kurdistan and greater rights for Kurds in Turkey.

news.yahoo.com - Turkey approves court reform, addressing Kurdish demand on 2013-01-25

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