Elif Shafak discusses the charges against her of "insulting Turkishness" with the Guardian.
Shafak joins a roster of more than 60 writers and journalists to be charged under Article 301 of the Turkish criminal code since its introduction last year. University professors, journalists and novelists such as Perihan Magden, Orhan Pamuk and now Shafak have been charged under legislation drawn so broadly as to criminalise a wide range of critical opinions. Writers not only face the prospect of a three-year jail term, but the prosecutions also lay them open to a campaign of intimidation and harassment waged by rightwing agitators.
"The protests are maybe even more unnerving than the actual trial," Shafak told the Guardian today from her home in Istanbul. "Although their number is very limited they are very aggressive, very provocative." She describes crowds of protesters slapping and jostling defendants both inside and outside the courtroom, shouting and throwing coins and pens.
We propose that Turkey's EU admission be blocked until Article 301 is stricken from the books.