Another Turkish author acquitted after her day in court

By Carmen Comment

I guess if you’re a famous author in Turkey, the government’s going to go after you. Orhan Pamuk was put on trial and acquitted; Elif Shafak faces three years in prison for comments made in a novel. Newspaper columnist and noted novelist Perihan Magden also faced prison time but as Reuters reports, she won’t have to, as a Turkish court acquitted her Thursday of charges that she tried to deter people from doing their military service.

An Istanbul court ruled that Magden’s defense of a conscientious objector who was sentenced to four years in a military jail for refusing to wear his uniform, and her belief that Turkey should establish a civilian service as an alternative to military service, fell within the scope of freedom of expression and did not constitute a crime under Turkey’s revised penal code, the state-run Anatolian news agency said.

Though the European Union wants very much to see Turkey change its mind about going after such writers for “insulting the state and its institutions” – aka engaging in freedom of speech – Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has so far resisted EU pressure to alter the penal code articles, saying that freedom of expression cases rarely result in a conviction. Goddamn shame, that.