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EU and Turkish minister react to jail sentence for Turkish pianist

15 April 2013 17:54

Turkish pianist Say got 10-month jail term for blasphemy which rose reactions by EU and Turkish culture minister


The European Union as well as Turkish Culture & Tourism Minister Omer Celik reacted against an Istanbul court's decision to sentence Turkish pianist Fazil Say 10 months in prison for blasphemy.

EU Commission's spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said the Commission "has learned with concern that Fazil Say, a former EU cultural ambassador, has been given a suspended jail sentence for blasphemy."
Kocijancic added, "the commission underlines the importance for Turkey to fully respect freedom of expression in line with the European Convention on Human Rights and case law of the European Court of Human Rights."
Meanwhile, Culture Minister Celik said he did not wish to see people, especially artists, on trial for expressing views, however, he said, "there is a court decision."
Istanbul 19th criminal court handed Say, one of Turkey's most internationally renowned classical pianists and composers, a suspended sentence of 10 months in prison on charges of inciting hatred and insulting Islam on Twitter. 
43-year-old Say has played piano with the New York Philharmonic and Berlin Symphony orchestras.
The court said Say would be allowed to go free, and would be subject to the prison time if he committed a similar crime within five years.
Regarding the decision, Say said he was very sorry for his country over the court decision, and he was disappointed from the viewpoint of freedom of expression.