Erdogan attends famed Turkish pianist's concert

Ankara (AFP) –


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday attended a concert by world-renowned Turkish pianist Fazil Say who formerly accused him of being behind a blasphemy case which resulted in the pianist's acquittal.

Erdogan, whose broad support base is made up of conservative Muslims, appeared in Say's concert "Trojan Sonata" in the Turkish capital Ankara, a presidential source said.

Pictures from the concert revealed Erdogan attended the event with his headscarf-wearing wife Emine.

The invitation to Erdogan came after the Turkish leader called the pianist over his mother's death.

Say, an atheist, is not so popular in conservative quarters.

In 2016, a Turkish court acquitted him of blasphemy four years after he was prosecuted for Twitter posts that allegedly attacked Muslims.

One of which was a retweet which said: "I am not sure if you have also realised it, but all the pricks, low-lives, buffoons, thieves, jesters, they are all Allahists. Is this a paradox?"

The case against the charismatic pianist -- who is also a renowned composer -- set off alarm bells over freedom of expression under the reign of Erdogan's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The government critic also previously accused Erdogan of being behind the case against him and in 2013 he called the charges "politically motivated".

Say, 49, has played with orchestras across the world including in Berlin, New York, Tokyo and Israel and regularly gives sold-out solo recitals that often mix Mozart with Turkish traditional sounds.