As the Los Angeles Times wrote last week, "WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU refer to Turkey's 1915-1923 genocide of Armenians, accurately, as 'genocide'? In Turkey, you face a possible three-year jail term, even if it wasn't you using the term but a character in your novel."

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Elif Shafak

Elif Shafak, the Turkish novelist, is on trial for "insulting Turkishness." Another Turkish professor, Fatma Gocek, has forwarded the quotes from Shafak's "The Bastard of Istanbul" that made her go on trial. Below are the quotes. Thanks to Profs. Gocek and Shafak for sharing the excerpts via [email protected].

1. p. 3 Zeliha walks on the street:

Yet, there she was on this first Friday of July, walking on a sidewalk that flowed next to hopelessly clogged traffic; rushing to an appointment she was now late for, swearing like a trooper, hissing one profanity after another at the broken pavement stones, at her high-heels, at the man stalking her, at each and every driver who honked frantically when it was an urban fact that clamor had no effect on unclogging traffic, at the whole Ottoman dynasty for once upon a time conquering the city of Constantinople, and then sticking by its mistake, and yes, at the rain… this damn summer rain.

2. p.54 Dikran Stamboulian’s words:

“What will that innocent lamb tell her friends when she grows up? My father is Barsam Tchakhmakhchian, my great-uncle is Dikran Stamboulian, his father is Varvant Istanboluian, my name is Armanoush Tchakhmakhchian, all my family tree has been Something Somethingian, and I am the grandchild of genocide survivors who lost all their relatives in the hands of Turkish butchers in 1915, but I myself have been brainwashed to deny the genocide because I was raised by some Turk named Mustapha! What kind of a joke is that…Ah, marnim khalasim!”

3. p. 56 Auntie Varsenig's words:

Auntie Varsenig continued, “Tell me how many Turks ever learned Armenian. None! Why did our mothers learn their language and not vice versa? Isn’t it clear who has dominated whom? Only a handful of Turks come from Central Asia, right, and then the next thing you know they are everywhere! What happened to the millions of Armenians who were already there? Assimilated! Massacred! Orphaned! Deported! And then forgotten! How can you give your flesh and blood daughter to those who are responsible for our being so few and in so much pain today? Mesrop Mashtots would turn in his grave!”

4. p. 121 Lady Peacock/Siramark's words:

"What are you going to talk about with ordinary Turks? asked Lady Peacock/Siramark. “Look, even the well-educated are either nationalist or ignorant. Do you think ordinary people will be interested in accepting historical truths? Do you think they are going to say: oh yeah, we are sorry we massacred and deported you guys, and then contentedly denied it all. Why do you want to get yourself in trouble?”