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    French author backs Turkish novelist

    Milliyet
    29.04.2009 - 00:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    PARIS - A well-known French writer has called for the case against Turkish novelist Nedim Gürsel, who is charged with insulting religious values in his latest novel, "The Daughters of Allah," to be dismissed.

    Novelist Marc Levy’s open letter to the Turkish court was published in the leading French daily Le Monde. According to another story in the newspaper, nearly 40 insulting statements had been identified in the book, but most of them were distorted. The weekend edition of Le Monde also featured a full-page story by famous French critic Pierre Assouline, titled "Secularism in the Presence of the Court in Turkey," that asked, "Can a novelist write about sensitive issues without being charged with insulting religion? Here is one more test for Turkey." A similar story had previously been published in the right-wing daily Le Figaro.

    Case ’damages Turkey’s image’

    Levy, whose novels have been translated into many languages, including Turkish, addressed his open letter to the chief judge, saying, "Such a case being tried in your court damages the image of your country, which is so rich in terms of culture. I hope with all my heart that you will reject the demands of those who attempt to violate the freedom of thought, sharing and writing."

    Levy, who said he was not willing to teach democracy to Turkey, noted that his grandfather Nissim Levi was the architect of İzmir’s famous elevator, saying: "I have Turkish roots. That is why I am really sorry about this case that your court is preparing to hear."

    Writing that Gürsel was being charged for insulting the faith of a society, Levy asked, "Will your court open its doors to those who damage real Islamic values by distorting the words of Prophet Mohammed with actions like burning schools, preventing women’s education and massacring civilians?"
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