Novelist Elif Şafak calls for support over crackdown against writers in Turkey - the Guardian

Prominent Turkish novelist Elif Şafak on Saturday called the international community to back authors, journalists and academics in Turkey as the country's prosecutors ask examination of her novels, the Guardian reported. 

Şafak is among the fiction writers Turkish prosecutors have launched investigations into amid a recent debate on the country’s novelists tackling challenging subjects such as child abuse and sexual violence. 

"Turkey today is the world’s leading jailer of journalists,” Guardian quoted Şafak as she told the Hay Festival. “It’s also very tough for academics. Thousands of people have lost their jobs just for signing a peace petition.”

Turkey's ministry of culture and tourism on May 28 filed a criminal complaint against writer Abdullah Şevki after the excerpts from the latest novel of the author shared on social media caused public outcry over a story on child abuse. 

Following sparking debates on social media, on Friday, Şafak said a Turkish prosecutor had asked to examine her novels, particularly The Gaze, from 1999, and 2016’s Three Daughters of Eve.

“Anything that has any passage on sexual abuse of children in Turkish literature, they want to investigate it,” the Guardian quoted Şafak as saying.

Şafak said she had received thousands of abusive messages over the past a few days.

The internationally acclaimed novelist in 2006 was tried and acquitted for “insulting Turkishness” over a character in her novel ''The Bastard of Istanbul,'' who referred to the 1915 massacre of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as a genocide.

Şafak, while acknowledging sexual abuse appears in some of her fiction, rejected entirely the idea that this could mean she condones it.