The Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office has launched a probe into statements from the global organization PEN, who recently spoke out in support of renowned Turkish pianist Fazil Say, accusing the group of insulting the Turkish state, government and army.
PEN had accused Turkey of moving toward "fascist developments" when it looked to take legal action against Say, who was put on trial for "insulting religion" over a series of comments he made on the Internet.
"The international community has been put on alert in the face of fascist developments in Turkey," PEN's statement read.
The Istanbul prosecutor said PEN's statement constituted "a clear insult to the Turkish government, the Turkish state, security forces and the army."
The organization quickly responded with a press release that condemned Turkey.
Security forces visited PEN's offices in Istanbul on Dec. 25 and asked for contact information for the group's board members, according to PEN's statement. The group was then called on to "submit an official statement under Article 301."
Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code forbids insults of any kind toward the Turkish state.
Say ruffled some feathers and created a storm of controversy on Twitter, the online microblogging website when he tweeted a couplet from Khayyam. “You say its rivers will flow in wine. Is the Garden of Eden a drinking house? You say you will give two hours to each Muslim. Is the Garden of Eden a whorehouse?” Say tweeted.
He also tweeted, “I don’t know whether you have noticed or not but wherever there is a stupid person or a thief, they are believers in God. Is this a paradox?”
Say now faces charges of allegedly “publicly insulting people’s religious beliefs.”