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January 31
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Famous Turkish writer Elif Shafak called on the international community to support authors, journalists and scientists in Turkey, The Guardian reported

“Turkey today is the world’s leading jailer of journalists,” 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.”

The author’s call comes in the wake of a wave of persecutions and public abuse of writers. Shafak is the most high-profile voice to speak out over the crackdown, which last week saw the writer Abdullah Şevki detained, along with his publisher Alaattin Topçu, over a scene in one of his novels, published in 2013, in which a paedophile describes the sexual abuse of a child.

According to her, a Turkish prosecutor had asked to examine her novels, particularly The Gaze, from 1999, and 2016’s Three Daughters of Eve. She said she had received thousands of abusive messages last week about passages in several of her novels. Other targeted authors include Ayşe Kulin, who has been subject to widespread abuse online for scenes in a 2008 novel.

“In all my novels I have tried to give voice to the voiceless. I have written about outcasts, minorities, the displaced and exiled … I wanted to make their stories heard. So I really find it tragic that instead of changing the laws, building shelters for abused women and children, improving the conditions for the victims, they are attacking fiction writers. That is very sad,” she added.

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