Pianist Fazıl Say seeks ‘dialogue’ with Turkish government

Pianist Fazıl Say seeks ‘dialogue’ with Turkish government

Pianist Fazıl Say seeks ‘dialogue’ with Turkish government

World-renowned pianist Fazıl Say has announced that he “extends his hand for dialogue and reconciliation” with Turkish officials who “almost imposed a ban” targeting him.

“I want to perform in my own country as I do in other countries,” Say said in a statement on July 13, declaring that he would make every effort to “meet with people again” in Turkey, particularly through concerts organized by municipalities and universities.

Say has been targeted by members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) since he was subjected to a controversial blasphemy case that he was charged on and convicted over tweets in which he quoted the 11th century Persian poet Omar Khayyam in 2012.

Appealing his 10-month imprisonment in the case, which was suspended for five years, Say was acquitted in September 2016 on charges of “insulting religious beliefs held by a section of society.”

The government removed mention of Say from the education curriculum for 12th grade music classes last year.

Although he performed on stage in a number of concerts organized by private organizers in Turkey in recent years, Say has been complaining over what he described as “almost a ban” by public institutions targeting him.

“Almost all doors have been closed. I am regarded as almost a banned figure by state institutions. I am working with international organizations 100 times a year, but I can’t do it in my own country,” Say said in his July 13 statement.

“Now I am extending my hand again for dialogue and reconciliation. I want to perform my art in my country. I seek the support of everyone,” he added.