Turkish pianist faces prisonment for anti-religious tweets

Turkish pianist faces prisonment for anti-religious tweets

ISTANBUL
Turkish pianist faces prisonment for anti-religious tweets

Prosecutors have demanded that internationally acclaimed Turkish pianist Fazıl Say be sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for tweets that have insulted religion.

Prosecutors have demanded that internationally acclaimed Turkish pianist Fazıl Say be sentenced to 1.5 years in prison for tweets that “have insulted religion,” according to the Medyatava website.

Say, an avowed atheist, is accused of insulting values that are important for society; if the pianist accepts the accusations, he will be sent to court, according to reports.

According to allegations, Say said in a tweet that “wherever there is a stupid person or a thief, they are believers in God. Is this a paradox?”

On a different occasion, Say tweeted, “After tonight everyone in the country will be an atheist.”

Earlier in May, Say said he was considering leaving the country for good, prompting Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay to call on him to reconsider. Say, however, harshly replied to the minister the next day on his Twitter account, saying “stop talking nonsense.”

Günay, who said he did not want any Turkish artist to have negative feelings about Turkey, made his remarks in a speech May 10 at the European Parliament as the guest of the Friends of Turkey Parliamentary Group, daily Hürriyet reported.

“As the member of the government that is responsible for coordinating tourism and cultural affairs in the country, I am strictly careful not to say a word that will hurt an artist. But if some artists insist on saying negative things all the time, I leave it to society to evaluate. I hope that in the future these people will say there is no better place to live than Turkey,” Günay said.

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