Atheist Turkish pianist Say to face jail: lawyer

Acclaimed Turkish composer and pianist Fazil Say faces trial in October on charges of insulting religious values, with a possible 18-month prison sentence, his lawyer said Friday.

"The trial will open on October 18 in an Istanbul court," Meltem Akyol told AFP, adding that Say, 42, would attend the hearing.

The multiple award-winning artist, who is a culture ambassador for the European Union, drew the ire of conservatives in Turkey with a series of provocative tweets about Islam.

The virtuoso will be tried under Article 216 of Turkish Penal Code, which makes insults against religious values and instigation of enmity punishable by prison terms, according to the lawyer.

Say said in April in an interview with the Hurriyet daily that he felt completely ostracised by Turkish society since he declared that he was an atheist and that the criticism he had received had highlighted a growing culture of intolerance.

"I think it's time for me to move to Japan," he told the daily.

"When I said that I was an atheist, everyone insulted me and the legal authorities jumped on everything that I wrote on Twitter. I am perhaps the first person anywhere in the world to be the object of a judicial inquiry for declaring that they are an atheist."

A senior lawmaker for the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party, Samil Tayyar, has called Say a "son of a whore" and the composer now fears that he could end up behind bars.

"If I am sentenced to prison, my career will be finished," he told Hurriyet.

Turkey is an officially secular country but the AKP, which has been in power since 2002, has strong Islamist roots.

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Viernes Santo in Kalibo VERA Files - The Inbox
    Viernes Santo in Kalibo

    Photos by Little Wing Luna, VERA Files Text by Mitch Meñez Kalibo, Aklan--Viernes Santo or Good Friday is the most solemn of all the days in Holy Week. It commemorates the Passion and Death of Jesus on the Cross. The … Continue reading → …

  • Hugas Dugo VERA Files - The Inbox
    Hugas Dugo

    Text by Kimmy Baraoidan, VERA Files Photos by Chris Quintana and Kimmy Baraoidan Pakil, Laguna--In the small town of Pakil, Laguna resides a group of men who call themselves Hugas Dugo. Most members of the group are residents of the … Continue reading → …

  • Lenten procession more than just a spectacle VERA Files - The Inbox

    Text and photos by Kiersnerr Gerwin Tacadena, VERA Files Baliuag, Bulacan--This town is hosting what could be the country’s biggest Lenten procession consisting of more than 100 religious statues riding on carriages or carrozas. But concerns are being raised that … Continue reading → …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options