Freedom Of Speech, Islam Style
TURKEY’S faltering hopes of European Union membership look set to be dealt a blow this week when Elif Shafak, one of the leading members of a new generation of Turkish female novelists, faces charges under the country’s draconian restrictions on freedom of speech.
Shafak, 34, is being tried under article 301 of the Turkish penal code, which makes it an offence to insult “Turkishness”. Her alleged crime is that a character in her latest bestselling novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, describes the massacres of Armenians in the late Ottoman Empire as a genocide — an interpretation which, although widely accepted internationally, is still vigorously denied by the Turkish state.
Although other Turks have faced charges for referring to the events of 1915-16 as a genocide, Shafak is the first writer to be prosecuted for words spoken by a character in a work of fiction.
Shafak's trial will start about the time she's scheduled to go into labor. No delay is expected in the trial date.
Related Tags: Islam, European Union, Turkey, Elif Shafak