Turkey backs off publisher accused of "corrupting public morals" with French book written 106 YEARS ago
An image taken from the film adaptation of "The Exploits of a Young Don Juan" by Guillaume Apollinaire, about the sexual awakening of a 15-year-old boy. According to Turkey, it's too saucy. (Image courtesy of moovedo.com)
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A Turkish court said it has suspended the trial of a publisher and a translator accused of corrupting the public's morals with a book written 106 years ago.
The Istanbul court suspended the case against publisher Irfan Sanci and translator Ismail Yerguz for three years due to a penal code technicality, Middle East News Online reported.
The case is one of many recent freedom of expression trials in Turkey.
Sanci said he would go on publishing the book, "The Exploits of a Young Don Juan," written by a French author, Guillaume Apollinaire.
The defendants and their attorneys said they were hoping for an acquittal.
"They tell us not to commit a crime for three years. For them, publishing a book is a crime," Adem Sakal, Sanci's attorney, said.
An Istanbul court filed a complaint in 2009 over obscene content in the book, which describes a 15-year-old boy's sexual awakening.
The complaint was initially dismissed, but in August, an appeals court overturned that decision and ruled that the book lacked artistic value.
The International Publishers Association and the U.S. writers' association PEN International have released a statement accusing the government of unfair censorship.
"There are many more examples of the dead hand of government censorship on Turkish courts at the moment, affecting publishers, translators, writers and journalists," the statement reads.