Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Turkish author has gone on trial on charges of insulting Turkey's founder, in the latest case seen as a test of freedom of speech in the country

BBC News:

Ipek Calislar faces up to four years in prison if convicted of insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

In her biography of his wife, she claimed that the founder of modern Turkey once fled disguised as a woman.

The European Union has pressed Turkey to reform a law that allows prosecution of those seen to insult "Turkishness".

The law has led to court cases against dozens of writers and journalists, including acclaimed novelists Orhan Pamuk and Elif Shafak.

Both were acquitted.

The trial of Ipek Calislar, and Necdet Tatlican, an editor for Hurriyet newspaper, which serialised the book, was adjourned until December.

Neither of the accused were present on Thursday, but the court ordered that they attend when the case resumes.

Meanwhile a separate Turkish court questioned the basis under which writers are tried.

Referring to the prosecution of Elif Shafak, for "insulting Turkishness" through comments made by fictional characters in her novel, it said: "Efforts to limit freedom of thought and expression may have grave consequences."

"It is unthinkable to talk about crimes committed by fictional characters... It is necessary to define the boundaries of the Turkishness concept and place it on firm ground."

Turkey puts yet another author on trial amid EU criticism of repressive laws


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