September 23, 2006

ELIF SHAFAK ACQUITTED....Chaos Erupts Outside Istanbul Courtroom

(22.09.2006; BBC News)

In a trial that lasted only 40 minutes, Elif Shafak, the author of The Bastard of Istanbul, was acquitted on charges of "insulting Turkishness".

Outside the Beyoglu courtroom riot police wearing gas masks encircled the main gates while inside, the courtroom itself was sectioned off behind a row of tall temporary fencing.

Ms. Shafak was not present at the trial, having given birth over the weekend. Her husband, Eyup, was present and telephoned his wife shortly after the verdict was read. "I just talked to Elif on the phone. She was so happy and relieved", he told reporters in the packed courtroom.

The quick acquittal infuriated Kemak Kerincsiz, one of the Turkish lawyers who filed the initial complaint against Shafak's book.

"In our culture no one can brand their ancestors murderers or accuse them of genocide", Kerincsiz said. "Maybe in the West they're more tolerant, but here we can't accept those comments as criticism", he added.

For further information and to see a video clip from the trial click HERE


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