News Tip: Pianist's Conviction Shows Weakening of Turkish Secularism

The recent conviction of a prominent Turkish musician for comments made on Twitter speak to a weakening of secularism in that country, a Duke professor says

Fazil Say, a Turkish pianist, was convicted this week of "denigrating religion" through comments on Twitter.

Erdag Goknar

Assistant professor of Turkish & Middle Eastern Studies, Duke University

Author of "Orhan Pamuk, Secularism and Blasphemy"


"This trial is the latest example of Turkey's own estrangement from its long tradition of what might be termed 'Islamo-secularism.'  Turkish history represents one of the few successful examples of the coexistence of a strong secular state tradition along with the cultures of Islam, one that extends back to Ottoman rule in the Balkans and the Middle East.

"This case and others are unfortunate show-trials, meant to champion just one aspect of a long-standing dual Turkish identity. If the prosecutors in these trials just looked into the mirror of their own history, they'd find an answer to Turkey's current identity crisis."