Turkish pianist Fazil Say on trial for insulting Islam
ISTANBUL - A top Turkish pianist and composer appeared in court on Thursday to defend himself against charges of offending Muslims and insulting Islam in comments he made on Twitter.
Fazil Say, who has played with the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and others, is on trial for sending tweets that included one in April that joked about a call to prayer that lasted only 22 seconds.
Say tweeted: "Why such haste? Have you got a mistress waiting or a raki on the table?" Raki is a traditional alcoholic drink made with aniseed. Islam forbids alcohol and many Muslims consider the remarks unacceptable.
Prosecutors in June charged Say with inciting hatred and public enmity, and with insulting "religious values". He faces a maximum 18-month prison term, although any sentence is likely to be suspended.