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Turkey's efforts to change its laws in conformity with European standards on freedom of expression can set a positive example for Islamic countries where these rights are outlawed, says the World Association of Newspapers (WAN).

At its annual congress last week in Istanbul, which brought together more than 1,000 senior newspaper executives, WAN said the Turkish government had "made great strides" in recent years to reform laws that restricted free expression. The reforms are being implemented as the country prepares to strengthen its application to join the European Union.

Turkey can play a role on the world stage by demonstrating that "a major Muslim country can promote and enjoy tolerance, democracy and full human rights, including the vital right of every citizen to receive free information and express himself freely," WAN said.

In response to WAN's comments, Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said his government would continue to implement legal reforms in support of press freedom and the protection of human rights.

Read WAN President Seok Hyung Hong's speech on Turkey:
For more information on free expression in Turkey, visit:

- Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN:

- International Publishers Association:
- International Press Institute:

- Reporters sans frontières:
- Committee to Protect Journalists:

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