BOOKS > Turkish court says French book ‘too explicit’

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency

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Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals unanimously overturned previous ruling of acquittals of the publisher and translator of a French book, stating some of book’s context failed to fall under freedom of speech due to its perversion. 

French author Guillaume Apollinaire’s book, “The Exploits of Young Don Juan” (Les exploits d’un jeune Don Juan), in particular gave to detailed accounts of “unnatural sexual intercourse” with no “form of a plotline,” according to court, therefore failed to constitute a case for freedom of speech. 

Sel Publishing’s owner İrfan Sancı and translator İsmail Yerguz were initially taken to court over the explicit nature of the book following the book’s release, but an Istanbul court has granted them acquittal, describing the book as a work of literature. 

The Supreme Court however overturned where the ruling on the grounds that freedom of speech had to include “a sense of responsibility,” instead demanding Sancı and Yerguz to be tried with a possible sentence of six to ten years. 

“During the exertions of freedoms, one has to move with a sense of responsibility, and such freedoms can come under limitations and rules which aim to prevent disorder, preserve the society’s morals and general health,” the court stated. 

The book aimed to “exploit and arouse the sexual desires and harm the modesty of the society,” and contained “a vulgar and simple language.”

The translation and the publishing of the book “cannot be seen as acts of freedom of speech,” according to court’s decision, which added that the book “contained statements that reached levels of perversion towards mothers, aunts, siblings, members of the same sex and animals.” 

The court also cited a 1976 ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Handyside v. United Kingdom, where the court has ruled freedom of speech not to be applicable due to the nature of the context on trial. The publisher, Richard Handyside, was fined 25 pounds for each summons, and an extra 110 pounds for the legal costs.


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Harry Foundalis

8/21/2013 8:55:59 AM

My proposition was that your “Eastern value” of majorities oppressing minorities is a moral wreckage. Proof: place yourself in the position of a minority; you will then either reject your own venerable “Eastern value” (not wanting to be crushed by the majority), or you will accept it, learning what it means to be crushed by your oppressors. That’s what I said in a nutshell. Your attempts to avoid this bitter truth and derail the discussion are laudable but, ultimately, futile and pointless.

Harry Foundalis

8/21/2013 8:51:05 AM

Yet you twist the truth, claiming my proof is non-rigorous. When a proposition has only two logical values, true or false (yes/no in our case), then examining each of the two and reaching a conclusion is as rigorous as a proof can be—as any real mathematician will assure you. If there are 10, or 20 cases, then examining them one by one makes a proof *boring*, but still not non-rigorous. E.g. the 4-color theorem is such, with 1936 cases; but there are only 2 cases in my proposition, which was…

Harry Foundalis

8/21/2013 8:48:27 AM

Did I ever say there are no rigorous math proofs, Anatolian? I laughed when you qualified proofs as *vigorous*, correcting it later by “rigorous”, without admitting your error. From the dictionary (American Heritage): “vigorous: 1. Strong, energetic, and active in mind or body; healthy. 2. Marked by or done with force and energy; active.” I haven’t yet seen the first math proof that could lift 100 lbs, or that could benefit from the intake of vitamins. But non-*rigorous* proofs, sure there are…

Harry Foundalis

8/21/2013 8:45:19 AM

Anatolian, if you keep losing your temper and call me a racist again (8/20 10:30:51 PM, and 8/18 4:58:21 PM), I’ll have to ask the HDN staff to snip-snip those future comments of yours that accuse me falsely and are nothing but ad hominem attacks.

Thracian Anatolian

8/20/2013 10:30:51 PM

Aww...and why so indignant, self-righteous and scandalized Mr. Foundalis? You have made your civility and manners abundantly clear with the frequent references to the quality of my comprehensive skills. I suggest you drop that paternalistic, superciliously educative tone in the classroom. You have rightfully deserved being told the *truth* about yourself (i.e. racism and an an unhealthy fixation) given your lengthy diatribes against my religion and country.

Thracian Anatolian

8/20/2013 10:25:17 PM

Mr. Foundalis, I am not happy to break my word. But I am incredibly disturbed by your attempt to dilute mathematical proofs. So, are there rigorous proofs? Yes there are. If I were to prove De Morgan’s laws to you in a formal way, I would not use Venn diagrams but proof by induction. Since the former is ‘wimpy’. Your jeering comments at my response were unnecessary and inaccurate. (But of course, I, a simple mortal unlike Mr. Foundalis, “cannot fathom mathematical proofs”)

Harry Foundalis

8/20/2013 10:29:46 AM

As for your beloved Quran, Anatolian, exactly: if we put that phrase into context, it makes it even more morally questionable. For I would think that a mother with a baby is the *weak* party, and should be given more privileges than the father. Your verse 2:228 should state: “…and women are a degree above men.” Keep defending your Quran, without realizing that you defend a text that talks to *men*, pushing women aside and seeing them as men’s *belongings*. (Want some proof of that?)

Harry Foundalis

8/20/2013 10:27:24 AM

So, Anatolian, you called me “clueless” and a “racist”. Name-calling, besides risking having your comment eliminated because it violates one of the HDN guidelines, is also the last straw that the person with a dearth of arguments grasps in desperation. I will not follow you in name-calling. I’ll just let your wish to me, “Have a splendidly horrible day”, speak for itself about your civility, manners, and educational level. :-)

Harry Foundalis

8/20/2013 10:24:46 AM

Anatolian, when a theorem is proved, it holds true no matter how a proof of it was obtained. It doesn’t matter *how* you prove the Pythagorean Theorem, for example; what matters is that you proved it. Your method of proof won’t make the square of the hypotenuse different from the sun of the squares of the two perpendicular sides. In addition, a proof examining the “yes” and “no” answers is never seen as not rigorous in math. In spite of all that, you called me “clueless” (in math!) :-)

Thracian Anatolian

8/18/2013 4:58:21 PM

I am not going to go over verse-by-verse here. The one you allude to refers to a situation when there is a divorce and the man wants to get back together. In case the woman is pregnant, then the man who wants to get back has a ‘priority’. Cherry picking much? You indeed do need enlightenment on a wide spectrum of subjects stretching from mathematics to religion and history, but I have no incentive to enlighten a fanatical, racist Greek who is obsessed with Islam. Have a splendidly horrible day.
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