ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
A petition to protect the memory of Ottoman sultans following recent controversy over a Turkish historical TV drama has been submitted to Turkish Parliament's Petition Commission.
The petition demands a similar version of the law on the protection of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s memory for the memory of the sultans of the Ottoman Empire, a "600-year sovereign world power.” Under the petition, which was signed by 10 people, those found guilty of insulting the sultans could face prison time.
The suggestion provoked opprobrium from some opposition parties. "Such a law would be harmful for Turkey's European Union
aim in the context of freedom of speech," main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Bursa deputy Aykan Erdemir told Anatolia news agency.
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Altan Tan also said it was "nonsense" to legislate respect for the Ottoman sultans.
But Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy Özcan Yeniçeri said there could be a way to create a general law that would require the respect of all Turkish leaders rather than a specific one without harming democratic rights and the liberties of people.
The petition comes in the wake of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's criticism of the hit TV soap opera “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (The Magnificent Century) on the grounds that it was insulting to Süleyman the Magnificent as it showed the Ottoman leader more engaged in court intrigues than in conquering foreign lands. Erdoğan called for judicial action against the show, and members of his party have vowed to force the show off the air in 2013.