Turkish pianist Fazıl Say, DHA photo
Enjoying the popular music genre Arabesque is tantamount to treason, according to world-renowned Turkish pianist and composer Fazıl Say, who is currently facing 1.5 years in prison for sending atheist tweets.
"Not liking that disgusting thing called Arabesque is patriotism, while liking it is treason. Thoughts vary here. We're talking about something without quality. We're talking about bad harmony, bad melody and music that hasn’t been able to progress anywhere,” he told private channel CNNTürk last night.
Say also denounced the trial against him. "The lawsuit opened against me is ridiculous and tragic. The whole world is laughing at Turkey. I shared the message that resulted in my trial on Twitter because I found it funny. I've also shared reactions against it as I respect them. But they don't respect me back,” he said.
“They want me to believe in God by being punished with 1.5 years in prison. If I believed I were guilty, I would head to prison myself," he said.
Say is accused of “insulting religious values” on Twitter. “Wherever there is a stupid person or a thief, they are believers in God. Is this a paradox?” he said on one occasion. On another, he tweeted: “After tonight everyone in the country will be an atheist.”
Say also criticized the government. "Is it the government that decides whether a person believes in God or not? It is weird that [the government] is standing behind those who have sued me,” he said. “I don't fear the Justice and Development Party [AKP]. They want to put me in prison, but it’s not that easy; I have millions behind me. But if they still want to, they should come and throw me [in prison].”