Günays says artists should be ‘careful’
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
‘Artists should be careful, prudent and respectful to collective sentiments,’ according to Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay. AA photoCulture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay said Oct. 19 that he did not wish for any artist to be put on trial on charges of “publicly insulting people’s religious beliefs,” but added that artists should be “careful and prudent” about their public statements.
Günay’s remarks came one day after Turkish composer Fazıl Say appeared before court on charges of insulting religion.
“Artists should be careful, prudent and respectful to collective sentiments,” Günay told Anatolia news agency. “I hope [the court board] will give a verdict to relieve everyone.”
Günay said he hoped that Say would be acquitted, but added: “Say had a special intention to cause a hassle.”
Piano virtuoso and composer Say had raised a storm on social media when he tweeted a verse from Persian poet and Omar Khayyam, who lived in the 12th century. “You say its rivers will flow in wine. Is the Garden of Eden a drinking house? You say you will give two houris to each Muslim. Is the Garden of Eden a whorehouse?” Say tweeted in April this year.
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 had attended the first hearing on Oct. 18 of his trial, where he issued his defense as a written statement, claiming that he was unable to stand long enough to give a verbal defense for health reasons. The court has postponed the trial to Feb. 18.