Turkish pianist Fazil Say convicted of insulting Islam

Turkish pianist Fazil Say performing in Davos, Switzerland, 31 January 2009
Image caption Fazil Say - here performing in Davos, Switzerland in 2009 - had previously expressed "amazement" at the charges

World-renowned Turkish pianist Fazil Say has been given a suspended 10-month jail sentence for insulting Muslim values.

An Istanbul court found Say guilty over a series of posts on the social networking site Twitter.

Say was not in court for the sentencing. But he denied the charges, saying they were politically motivated.

The case renewed concern about the influence of religion on politics in Turkey.

Pointing to the prosecution of several artists and intellectuals for voicing their views, critics have accused the governing AK Party of undermining Turkey's secular values and pandering to Islamists.

Prosecutors had brought the charges against Mr Say last June. He could have faced a maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.

The indictment against him cited some tweets, including a retweet by Mr Say which says: "I am not sure if you have also realised it, but if there's a louse, a non-entity, a lowlife, a thief or a fool, it's always an Allah-ist."

Mr Say has previously said he was "amazed" at the charges.

Mr Say, 43, has played with the New York Philharmonic, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra and others, and has served as a cultural ambassador for the EU.

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