On an interview he gave previously to a Turkish daily, renown American writer Paul Auster said he will not visit Turkey due to the lack of freedom of speech in the country and due to number of imprisoned journalists.
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan today called Auster “ignorant” on a public speech and added he could care less if he visits the country or not. The accusation of ignorance comes with the fact that Auster is Jewish and visits Israel. Turkish Prime Minister in his speech said that Israel is a religious state and could not be considered democratic therefore.
Paul Auster on a release published in NY Times today clarified the issue by a well-deserved democracy lesson for Erdogan:
“Whatever the Prime Minister might think about the state of Israel, the fact is that free speech exists there and no writers or journalists are in jail. According to the latest numbers gathered by International PEN, there are nearly one hundred writers imprisoned in Turkey, not to speak of independent publishers such as Ragip Zarakolu, whose case is being closely watched by PEN Centers around the world. All countries are flawed and beset by myriad problems, Mr. Prime Minister, including my United States, including your Turkey, and it is my firm conviction that in order to improve conditions in our countries, in every country, the freedom to speak and publish without censorship or the threat of imprisonment is a sacred right for all men and women.”