The charges of insulting religious values and inciting religious hatred were dropped against celebrated Turkish writer Nedim Gursel last week. A private complainant had asserted that in his novel The Daughters of Islam, Gursel wrote about “Allah’s lovers” whereas in fact he had written about Allah’s servants – proving once again that it is always worth while reading the books you want to burn before you try to burn them. A police report also concluded that publication of the book had not disturbed the peace.
Gursel, who was born in Turkey, teaches contemporary Turkish literature at Sorbonne in Paris. He is the author of over 30 books. His first novel, The First Woman, also raised controversy. He was accused of offending public morality and the book was banned in Turkey.
Turkey has received international condemnation for how writers are embroiled in legal accusations that many argue have no place in a secular democracy. According to PEN International, there are more than 100 writers, journalists and editors facing prosecution in Turkish courts.