Turkish pianist Fazıl Say's European concerts canceled over remarks against Israel

Renowned Turkish pianist Fazıl Say’s Switzerland concerts have been canceled over his remarks criticizing Israeli attacks on Gaza.

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Turkish pianist Fazıl Say has been removed from the 4-concert program in Switzerland following his remarks criticizing Israel’s attacks on civilians in Gaza. Say announced the cancellation on his social media accounts. 

Say stated that the program organizer Migros, a supermarket chain in Switzerland and Turkey, gave the pianist’s social media posts about the Israel-Palestine conflict as the reason for his removal.

He added, “I posted only three tweets throughout the conflict, and all my statements were made for peace. I approached the issue from both sides. I said Netanyahu’s shortsighted war policy was outright wrong and cruel. My posts are still up for public consideration.”

Say expressed his bafflement and disappointment about the cancellation. He said, “I thought freedom of expression was valued in Europe. This disturbing event shook my confidence. Every individual is entitled to their opinion. More importantly, these opinions should not reflect on professional decisions.”

“I side with peace and humanity, and I make music to become hope for humanity," the pianist added.  

Say had supported Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's approach to the issue, and called it "prudent."

The post reads: "I completely agree. Thank you for this prudent statement. All humans must do something to stop this war. Netanyahu should be tried for war crimes, genocide, and massacres. Freedom to Palestinians, for humanity. Enough with this atrocity."