We all know that Turkey is eager to become a member of the EU. Having a foothold on the European continent is obviously something that cannot be denied and no doubt that a membership based on moral and economic values represented by the union and mutual respect would be to the best for both parties. Although several good attempts in adopting laws and regulations more eatable to the major European countries, the country still has a long way to go. Unfortunately something Turkey itself is reminding us of far too often.
Turkey has a history of persecuting its artists and writers, and the European Union has long encouraged the nation to improve freedom of speech if it wants to become a member of the bloc one day.
In a report on Turkey’s progress toward membership issued last week, the EU criticized Turkey for “recurring infringements of the right to liberty and security and to a fair trial, as well as of the freedom of expression.” It said restrictions on media freedoms and an increasing number of court cases against writers and journalists remained “serious issues.”
Turkey’s Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk has been prosecuted for his comments about the mass killings of Armenians under a law that made it a crime to insult the Turkish identity before the government eased that law in an amendment in 2008. In 2007, ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who received death threats because of his comments about the killings of Armenians by Turks in 1915, was shot dead outside his office in Istanbul.
And now the famous and top Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say appeared in court on Thursday to defend himself against charges of offending Muslims and insulting Islam in comments he made on Twitter.
The same day Egemen Bagis, the minister in charge of relations with the EU, suggested the case against Say should be dismissed saying the court should regard Say’s tweets as being within “his right to babble.”
But he upheld his criticism which only shows that Turkey still has a very long way to travel and with an attitude like this countries like France will keep its veto for another 50 years!