World-renowned pianist Fazıl Say removed from Turkey’s new education curriculum
ISTANBULWorld-renowned Turkish pianist Fazıl Say has criticized the removal of his name from the new draft education curriculum, describing the decision as “discrimination” and motivated by issues unrelated to music.
The much-debated new draft curriculum removed mention of Say from its 12th grade music class chapter on “Music Culture,” which covers Turkey’s Western music composers. Say condemned the removal via social media, writing: “I’m not there. My valuable Turkish musician friends, with whom I have worked, aren’t there either. This is painful discrimination.”
He also said the curriculum would be regarded as “strange” to people who know about music both in Turkey and abroad.
Say has been targeted by members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the pro-government media since he was subjected to a controversial and long-lasting blasphemy case, in which he was charged 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 latest draft curriculum has been widely criticized for its coverage of key issues in Turkish history related to the country’s founding father Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and İsmet İnönü, as well as Darwin’s theory of evolution.