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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Fazıl Say, Emre Bukağılı and an unending conflict in Turkish society

Fazıl Say Emre Bukağılı
Another artist was persecuted for offending Turkey's nouveau establishment this week when the pianist Fazıl Say was handed an eight month prison sentence for comments he made on Twitter. His tweets from last April, long since removed from his @FazilSayOfficial account, were deemed to be blasphemous and offensive to the country's Muslim population. 

Among the offending tweets was one posted on 5 April 2012 that read: "This muezzin finished the evening call to prayer in 22 seconds. Prestissimmo con fuoco! What's the hurry? A woman? A rakı drinking table?" In other tweets he quoted preachings on the afterlife attributed to an 11th century Islamic theologian and commented: "is heaven a brothel?" Tashlik has a good summary (scroll down for English) of the tweets.

Fazıl Say is a vocal critic of the government, which helped to attract extensive coverage of the outcome to his trial in Turkey and abroad. There are three observations that can be drawn from his conviction.