Elif Shafak’s Diary: Censorship in Turkey, a dead prostitute in a bin, social media trolls and Europe in flux


“One more thing,” says my editor, as the train slowly pulls out of the station. “For a few days, try not to look at social media.”

There is something about a train journey that makes you want to disconnect from the world and travel within. So I think, as I take my seat on a train from London to south Wales, carefully placing on the table in front of me three newspapers, four magazines, a novel and a non-fiction book, all of which I unrealistically intend to read on my way to the Hay Festival.

My phone rings. My Turkish editor is calling. In a voice as calm as he can manage he informs me that police officers have come to the publishing house in Istanbul inquiring about my novels. They have also asked to see books by Duygu Asena, an iconic feminist author who passed away over a decade ago. The police have taken copies of our books to a prosecutor, who is reading them to see if we have committed a “crime of obscenity” by writing about issues such as child abuse and sexual harassment. Turkey has alarmingly high levels of sexual harassment, gender-based violence and child brides. But instead of dealing with the problem, the authorities prosecute novelists.

“One more thing,” says my editor, as the train slowly pulls out of the station. “For a few days, try not to look at social media.”

I know I should listen to him, but as soon as we hang up I take a peek at Twitter and Instagram. There are hundreds, if not thousands of abusive messages, accusing me of indecency, immodesty and worse. The messages are further amplified by bots and trolls. Hatred, slander, distortion. Sentences have been plucked out of my novels by people who admit they haven’t read …read more

Source:: New Statesman

      

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