Turkish parliament's constitutional amendment vote might effect free speech – US

WASHINGTON, May 21 (KUNA) — The United States is concerned that the Turkish Parliament’s adoption today of a constitutional amendment, which would lift the parliamentary immunity of more than 100 members of parliament, will have a “chilling effect” on freedom of speech across Turkey, US State Department said Friday.
“We understand the legislation will next be referred to Turkey’s president,” said the announcement from deputy department spokesman Mark Toner.
“A common tenet in democratic societies is equality before the law,” Toner said. “However, we firmly believe that the freedom to engage in political speech, even speech which many find controversial or uncomfortable, should and must be protected for everyone.
This is especially important when it involves speech by elected representatives of a country’s citizens.” “We are closely monitoring developments regarding this prospective legal change,” he said.
“If this change results in a narrowing of space for political debate, it will erode the quality of Turkey’s democracy,” Toner added. (end) rm.mb

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