Elif Shafak: U. Arizona Professor Acquitted of Charges In Turkey





In a move hailed as a victory for freedom of speech, a Turkish court acquitted Elif Shafak, a University of Arizona assistant professor in Near Eastern Studies, saying there was no evidence that she "insulted Turkishness" in one of her novels, according to the Associated Press. Armenian characters in Shafak's novel, "The Bastard of Istanbul," refer to Turkish butchers who were part of the Armenian genocide in 1915.

The trial ended 1 1/2 hours after it began, with Judge Irfan Adil ruling that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that Shafak
committed a crime.


Shafak was charged under Article 301, which makes public denigrationof Turkishness, the Turkish Republic, the Grand National Assembly, the government, judiciary, military and security services a crime, according to the Associated Press.

Shafak's trial gained international attention, with more than 300 riot police surrounding yesterday's hearing. The trial came at an important time for the country, which is under evaluation to join the European Union.

The EU has warned Turkey that putting writers and journalists on trial for their speech could hamper its efforts to join the bloc, according to the Associated Press.



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