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Turkey’s New 'Sunni Islam' Taboo

The 10-month suspended prison sentence of pianist Fazil Say on grounds of his (re)tweets is the signal for an introduction of a new taboo called “Sunni Islam” in Turkey, writes Kadri Gursel.
Turkish classical pianist Fazil Say performs during a concert in Ankara October 14, 2010. Internationally acclaimed Turkish classical pianist Fazil Say goes on trial on charges of insulting Muslim religious values in comments he posted on Twitter. REUTERS/Stringer (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST SOCIETY) - RTR399ZY
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No doubt that the decision of a Turkish court passing a 10-month suspended prison term on world famous Turkish pianist Fazil Say for “insulting religion and as such committing an act conducive to disrupting the public peace” with his tweets and retweets a year ago is a heavy blow to freedom of expression in Turkey.

But if we confine our reaction only to heavy damage inflicted on “freedom of expression” and by extension to democracy, we will be missing out on the political and ideological context of the court’s opinion and the objective behind it.

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