Prominent Turkish novelist Hasan Ali Toptaş is facing dozens of allegations by women who have accused him of having sexually harassed them in the past, unleashing a #MeToo movement in Turkey’s literature world.
Allegations surfaced after a video of Toptaş made the rounds on Twitter in which he says he looks at the date of birth of the interpreter of a translated book before reading it.
“How many of us cannot wait until this man gets exposed?” said one Twitter user, called Leyla Salinger, in a caption of the video.
Her tweet soon ignited the #MeToo movement in Turkish literature, with many women saying they had been sexually assaulted by him too.
When another user asked for a clarification of what she meant, she said she and many of her friends had “unpleasant”
memories with him from their time at university. “Had I had the courage and encouragement I have now back then, I would have exposed him… He really is a huge disappointment,” she said.
Leyla Salinger soon drew a groundswell of support from many women on Twitter. Author Pelin Buzluk said she, too, was harassed by him.
“I have a horrible memory with him. I was married at the time; I couldn’t even tell my husband. Years later, I told my mother with difficulty…” Buzluk said on Twitter.
Toptaş has apologized for what he called an act of a “patriarchal perpetrator,” but women have said they will not forgive him.
Women also exposed authors Bora Abdo and Hüseyin Kıran and accused them of similar sexual assaults. İletişim Publishing House said it would be terminating its relations with Abdo in a show of solidarity with the women.
Everest Publishing House also said it terminated its connections with Toptaş.
Millions of women across the world have taken to social media ever since the #MeToo movement took off in 2017, recounting harassment and sexual assaults they have been subject to.
Hurriyet Daily News