Fazil Say appears in Turkish court

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Pianist charged with insulting Islam and inciting hatred

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The Turkish pianist Fazil Say has appeared in court in Istanbul accused of insulting Muslim values on Twitter.

The charges were brought against Say following his posting of potentially inflammatory messages on the social networking site in April. Among the tweets cited is one that appeared to mock the Muslim call to prayer, saying: ‘Why such haste? Have you got a mistress waiting or a raki on the table?’

If found guilty, Say, who is also a composer of note, could face up to 18 months in jail, though it is believed that any such sentence would probably be suspended. The pianist himself has expressed his surprise that his tweets have led to court and has also intimated that he may leave Turkey for Japan.

Calls for Say to be acquitted have been rejected by the Turkish court, and the case has been adjourned until February.