Tag: turkey

Elif Shafak

Turkey Puts Novelists, Including Elif Shafak, Under Investigation

According to The Guardian Turkish prosecutors have begun investigations into numerous writers of fiction, including famed author Elif Shafak. The campaign has been described as a serious violation of free speech rights, all breaking off from recent, rather vicious debates on social media about authors who write about difficult topics, such as child abuse and sexual violence. After a page from a new novel Abdullah Sevki was shared on Twitter, the novel quickly generated deep controversy when the chapter showcased featured a first person account of a child being sexual assaulted from a sexual predator’s POV. The government of Turkey has issued a formal complaint to ban the book and has charged Abdullah Sevki with criminal acts such as potential child abuse.

 

Turkey novelist with a close up of her face
IMAGE VIA THE GUARDIAN

Elif Shafak has described the campaign as a serious attack on free speech, having received thousands of abusive messages about her work published in the last few years, which deals with similar themes. She said her work is intended to put a spotlight on sexual violence in Turkey, especially against children, as Turkish courts have dragged their feet actually investigating reported incidents. She notes that instead of going after real life rapists, the Turkish courts are attacking writers instead, using them as a scapegoat without having to actually investigate the true problem.

Numerous speech organizations are deeply concerned about this campaign against Turkish novelists and have been quoted as saying:

“Freedom of expression in Turkey is increasingly under serious threat. Too many writers are in prison whilst others have been forced into exile.”

 

Shafak was previously tried for her novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, where she referred to the massacre of Armenians in World War I as a war crime and genocide. Shafak acknowledged that she deals with difficult subjects, such as sexual violence, but does not condone it and does the exact opposite with her work. She further notes she has always been a campaigner for women, children, and minority rights.

The campaign into investigating Shafak and other authors like her is sparking an international debate, both over free speech rights and content allowed in novels. What are your thoughts on this complicated issue? This could be easily be a slippery slope to go down for Turkey as a whole.

 

 

Featured Image by Random House Books 

Beyazit Library

This Istanbul Library Might Be the Best Building in the World

The Royal Institute of British Architects releases their International List every other year, which gathers buildings from around the world to celebrate their architectural achievements. The 2018 list was just announced, and this time next year a panel of judges will select the recipient of the 2018 RIBA International Prize. One of the buildings under consideration is Turkey’s Beyazit State Library.

 

Beyazit

Image Via Tabanlioglu Architects

 

The Istanbul library was converted from a soup kitchen and 16th-century caravanserai and it’s completely gorgeous. Tabanlioglu Architects designed the thoroughly modern library in Beyazit Square, right next to Beyazit Mosque, which was completed back in 1506. The mixture of history and present day is partially what makes Beyazit State Library so fascinating.

 

Beyazit

Image Via Tabanlioglu Architects

 

As RIBA president Ben Derbyshire said, the 2018 list “illustrates the meaningful impact and transformative quality that well-designed buildings can have on communities, wherever they are in the world.” No doubt a gorgeous library like Beyazit’s draws crowds and gets people reading. As we know, the more you read, the smarter and more interesting and better looking you are.

 

Beyazit

Image Via Tabanlioglu Architects
 

Beyazit

Image Via Tabanlioglu Architects

 

Hopefully, come 2020, your local library will be pretty enough to be nominated for the RIBA International Prize. Until then, though, maybe book your trip to Istanbul.

 

Feature Image Via Tabalioglu Architects