Turkish pianist defends self following accusations for tweets
ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
AFP PhotoWorld-renowned Turkish pianist Fazıl Say defended himself today following his recent indictment for “insulting religion,” describing Turkey as the “biggest inspiration” for his well-known works and noting that he had no intention of hurting anyone with his comments.
"I spent my musical life trying to understand the culture, history and spirit of this country," Say said in a statement. "My compositions are being played around the world by many musicians, reaching all kinds of people. Taking that into account, I wouldn't be entirely wrong if I say I contributed to the global recognition of Anatolian culture."
Say said he was forced by others to be on opposing sides with his country due to the incorrect interpretation of his words.
"It makes this difficult process even more unbearable to be insulted and attacked, instead of everyone being there for each other," Say said, adding that he did not intend to insult any person or any institution.
"That would have contradicted an artist's approach and sensitivity," Say said.
"I always respected freedom of thought and speech," he said. "This is a right for everyone. My expectation is that individuals and institutions pay some attention to my music before they judge me to understand how I feel about the values of my society."
Say faces 18 months in prison for “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.”