November 04, 2006


Dr. Çig update

As you know from my November 2 post Dr. Çig quickly cleared in court, Dr. Çig left the courtroom in triumph:

This photo accompanies the NY Times article by Sebnem Arsu. We actually learn a new and important fact here: "As such, her satirical letter argued, the wearing of a head scarf should not indicate a woman’s morality or religious devotion in today’s world. This comparison and other satires appeared in her book 'My Reactions as a Citizen' ..." So it seems these letters were satirical in intent! "My Reactions to Citizenship," the stilted translation of the original title I used previously (October 22 post Muazzez Çığ) stands hereby corrected also. Arsu: "More than 50 people chanted slogans supporting Ms. Cig and applauded as she left the courthouse ..." USA Today added: "Cig rejected the charge in court saying: 'I am a woman of science. ... I never insulted anyone,' private NTV television reported. Twenty-five lawyers crammed into the small courtroom to defend her. In what some said was a move to avoid endangering Turkey's EU bid, the prosecution supported dropping the charge, saying Cig's actions had not in any way 'endangered public safety.'" I actually found an article mentioning the Assyriological community's support for Dr. Çig: "The Cig case reportedly has been criticised by Brussels [i.e., the EU]. It also drew fire from the International Association for Assyriology (IAA). 'A veteran researcher who, throughout a long career, has contributed to the recovery of the ancient past, Dr. Cig is a model representative of Turkish contribution to scholarship,' the IAA said in a statement on Tuesday, appealing for the dismissal of the charges." (Southeast European Times, a US Dept. of Defense web site).

One final note: my mention of the Armenian genocide along with "historical fact" in my October 22 post Muazzez Çığ caused some reaction... Let me put it this way: I am obviously not a scholar of the Ottoman empire, Turkish history, Armenian history or World War I. I followed in this what is the general educated consensus in Western Europe as far as I know. Granted that the picture was a lot more complicated and less black-and-white than it is often portrayed. I know, for instance, that the Turkish authorities were definitely not the only ones for whom there is evidence of less-than-exemplary behavior in this part of the world around that time. The Greeks come to mind... (please, no e-mails!). Anyway, my main point in the post in question was: "Nevertheless it does not invalidate [Çig's] cause. After all, she is not taking [Pamuk] to court or threatening him. She is entitled to her opinion just like he is." One must be able to agree to disagree.

• S. Arsu, "Turkish Scholar Who Mocked Head Scarves Is Acquitted," in The New York Times, November 2, 2006
• [S. Fraser], "Court acquits Turkish archaeologist charged for her view on head scarves," in USA Today, November 1, 2006
• "Turkish scholar acquitted of inciting religious hatred," in Southeast European Times, online, November 2, 2006


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