Turkey ‘sliding backwards’, writer Elif Shafak says

Author of ‘Three daughters of Eve’ opens bookcity in

17 November, 17:33

    (by Mauretta Capuano) (ANSAmed) - Rome, November 17 - Turkey is "sliding backwards fast", Elif Shafak, one of the country's most prominent fiction writers, told ANSA ahead of the opening of Bookcity in Milan on Thursday.

    "We are losing democracy," added the author who opens the book fair with her work 'Le tre figlie di Eva' (The three daughters of Eve) at the Teatro dal Verme with Rula Jebreal.

    "It is difficult to be a writer in Turkey. You receive lots of love from people, from your readers. This is all moving, but at the same time you also get lots of hate messages, smears, attacks. If you are a woman it is more difficult because there is a lot of sexism. But we must continue to imagine stories, raising our voice," Shafak continued.

    "Writers breathe through their words, this is why we must continue to write," the London-based author who rose to international fame with 'The Bastard of Istanbul' explained. Published in Italy by Rizzoli, 'Le tre figlie di Eva' tells the story of three friends, the Sinner, the Believer and the Doubter, who are very different but have the same Muslim background. Through the characters it explores the condition of women, religion, politics, love and broken dreams in a Turkey whose potential remains "unexpressed". "I am interested in the dance between faith and doubt," explained Shafak. "I am not to all intents and purposes religious," she continued. "In truth I don't like organised religion or the collective identity, but I am spiritual in my own way. I appreciate both faith and doubt. People like myself, agnostics, the unorthodox mystics and the humanists are a minority in Turkey. But we exist and we are able to challenge this duality between atheism and absolute religiosity," Shafak said. "Spirituality can be all encompassing and individual at the same time. But in Turkey this kind of spirituality does not exist, because Turkey is a country of collective identities and where these collective identities conflict. I do not feel close to all this and want to broaden individual freedoms," she continued. "I am a femminist and I support both women's rights and the rights of LGBT people. In this respect Turkey is sliding backwards. There is an increase in domestic violence. We need to talk about difficult subjects like honour crimes, incest, gender violence, rape, homophobia. Women's rights cannot be postponed," Shafak concluded. (ANSAmed).

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