Thursday, November 29, 2007

Turkey Reviews

Turkey, a lovely country, continues to struggle with how Western it wants to be. Free speech regularly runs into problems. Several years ago, I spent a couple of weeks in Turkey and never have I had such a good time. The Turkish people were wonderful, friendly, kind, proud of their country yet not obnoxious. Except for when it came to discussing the Kurds and then every Turk I met had the nastiest things to say about them. As their government has changed hands, it will be worth seeing which way the people will go: more conservative, more Islamic, or continue on its Western path.

Turkish Prosecutor Probes Atheist Book

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A Turkish prosecutor has launched a probe into whether a book by best-selling atheist writer Richard Dawkins is an attack on religious values — a move that could lead to the prosecution of the book's Turkish publisher.

Publisher Erol Karaaslan said Wednesday he would be questioned by an Istanbul prosecutor on Thursday as part of the official investigation into Dawkins' book, "The God Delusion."

Karaaslan could face trial and up to one year in prison if the prosecutor concludes that the book "incites religious hatred" and insults religious values, Milliyet newspaper reported. Karaaslan is both the publisher and translator of the book.

The investigation of the British scientist's book comes at a time when Turkey has been criticized for targeting writers and intellectuals for expressing opinions. The European Union, which Turkey hopes to join, is pressing Ankara to change laws that curb free expression, calling them inconsistent with the bloc's free speech standards.

Turkey said this month it would soften a much-criticized law that makes denigrating Turkish identity, or insulting the country's institutions, a crime.

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