Pianist, cleared of blasphemy, receives world secularism prizemain
The supreme court in Turkey yesterday annulled the conviction of Fazil Say for ‘insulting’ God and Islam. The court voted 4-1 that Fazil’s tweets should be regarded as freedom of thought and expression and should not be punished with 10 months in jail. Fazil’s original sentence provoked an international outcry.
After the decision, Fazil popped up in Paris to receive the international secularism prize from the Mayor of Paris.
Fazil said: ‘Secularism is a concept identified with the Republic [of Turkey] founded by the courageous leader [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk, in my home country, Turkey. It stood as an upper justice, which has given freedom to a range of philosophical approaches ensuring equal rights to its people dispersed under different beliefs and ethnic origins, both to believers and non-believers, aiming at taking part in the international scene competition in science, arts, sports and many others. However, as you all know, this state of Turkey has been dragged to a tragic change.’