Elif Safak speaks at the London Book Fair London – James Campbell Critically acclaimed Turkish writer Elif Safak has claimed the charges against pianist Fazil Say were a “shock” in an exclusive interview with Arabstoday, adding: “I am sad for my country, no one was expecting this.” Say was reprimanded for posting “anti-Turkish” messages on Twitter. On Monday he was ordered to serve a 10-month suspended sentence. In 2006 similar charges were brought against Safak for her novel, The Bastard Of Istanbul. “It should not have been like this,” added the author. “You may agree or disagree with what he said, and as an individual you should be able to express that, not be sued because of your words.” Turkey might be a paragon of free speech compared to neighbouring Syria, but Safak believes the country still punishes its creative community. “There should be freedom of expression, but sometimes in Turkey writers, journalist and artists find themselves in court, and I am very critical of that.” Amnesty International has also criticised the decision, stating that the conviction of Say was a “violation of his freedom.” Safak spoke to Arabstoday at the 2013 London Book Fair, where she was representing Turkey as the author of note.