Bedrettin Simsek was a promising author when his first two books were published by Turkey’s leading publishing houses in 1996 and 1997. His bringing philosophy, humor and literature together distinguished him from other authors and he was noted for his skeptical attitude towards religions. When his third book, ‘The Discussions of an Atheist and a Cleric’, was published by one of Turkey’s largest publishers in 1998, he was sued because of the complaints, and both him and the publisher received prison sentences on charges of insulting religious values. This sentence was deferred on the condition that he did not commit the same crime again and was written on his record. His conviction made Bedrettin Simsek a criminal forever. All publishing houses closed their doors on his face; he was excluded from the literary world. Yet he had not given up on his attitude of questioning beliefs. His later works were always rejected by publishers, some of whom were afraid of punishment and some of the reaction of the reader. He had to publish his own works; but these books, which could not find a distributor, did not reach the reader. The author’s last book, published by his own means in 2014, remained unsold again. The author has been facing an undeclared ban imposed on him for two decades. He was prevented from writing, deprived of the opportunity to publish his works. But maybe it is a price that those who think freely against dogma must pay. Because those who break a taboo eventually turn into a taboo themselves.
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