International observers of media freedom will be turning their eyes to Turkey on November 1, when reknowned Turkish historian Muazzez Ilmiye Cig, a 92 year old academic specializing in Sumerian culture and history, will be tried on charges that she "has insulted the people and provoked hatred and disrespect among people" through some of her work and statements.
The French media organization AFP has distributed Cig's photograph in an attempt to raise international awareness of the upcoming trial.
Cig's trial occurs in the wake of her popular book on Sumerian culture, a work which came out last summer, and in which Cig asserts that the headscarf was first used by prostitutes in Sumerian temples during religious rituals. This assertion caused widespread reaction among religious circles in Turkey, which maintained that Cig's statements only served to cast headscarves and Islam in a negative light. Along with Cig, her publisher, Ismet Ogutucu, will also be tried on the Turkish Penal Code's articles number 216 and 125.