Turkish novelist awaits trial

Elif Shafak, a Turkish author and professor at the University of Arizona, is currently awaiting trial in Istanbul after her recent novel – The Bastard of Istanbul – was questioned for its Turkishness. The main sticking point in Shafak’s book is how she describes the persecution and slaughter of the Armenian people in 1915.

At present, the Turkish law (Article 301) states that “a person who publicly denigrates Turkishness, the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and three years.” Even though the International Association of Genocide Scholars has defined the nearly 1.5 million Armenian deaths as genocide, the Turkish government has long held that it wasn’t.

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