Brussels, January 23, 2008
Attn: Support Committee for Taner Akçam
Ladies and Gentlemen:
President Barroso and Commissioner Rehn have asked me to reply to your correspondence of December 18 and 20, 2007.
The European Commission has taken note of the intimidation encountered by Prof. Akçam, as well as the security measures adopted in response to the threats he is facing.
This situation reveals the necessity of promoting in Turkey a climate of tolerance and openness with regard to the combination of elements composing Turkish society.
Freedom of expression is at the center of this effort, which is why the Commission pays particular attention to the respect for this principle in the course of Turkey’s accession process.
On the occasion of the 2007 annual followup report on Turkey, the Commission has concluded that significant progress is necessary in the matter of freedom of expression, in particular the revision of laws (among them Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code) that restrain the exercise of this fundamental right.
Thanking you for your correspondence, I remain, ladies and gentlemen, cordially yours,