Row over book about Smyrna

The Greek author of a best-selling novel whose translation into Turkish has led to an Istanbul-based editor facing a three-year jail sentence for «insulting the Turkish state» yesterday insisted that her work actually «highlights the virtues and gifts of the Turkish people.» «(The Witches of Smyrna)… lauds the peaceful and productive coexistence of Greeks and Turks in Izmir,» Mara Meimaridi said of her work, which has been serialized on Greek television. Her Turkish translation has sold over 50,000 copies. But an Istanbul prosecutor has brought charges against editor Abdullah Yilmaz after deeming that the translation contains phrases that «insult Turks, the Turkish state and the Turkish military.» Meimaridis’s publisher Thanassis Kastaniotis expressed solidarity with Yilmaz and said, «Such indictments have no place in a country on the threshold of the European Union which claims to be concerned about freedom of expression and human rights.»