European Parliament to Observe Trial of Pamuk

STRASBOURG (Combined Sources)–The European Parliament (EP) plans to form a special panel to monitor the upcoming trial of Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk.

The proposal was made by MPs–who are members of the European wing of the Joint Parliamentary Commission–the consultative organ between the European Parliament and the Turkish parliament.

The committee will observe Pamuk’s trial–due to begin on December 16–and submit a report to the European Parliament. Pamuk has been charged with "publicly denigrating Turkish identity" in commen’s he made about the 1915 genocide of Armenia’s.

"Thirty thousand Kurds and 1 million Armenia’s were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it," he told a Swiss journalist in a interview.

He faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

Meanwhile–Germany’s book trade–which is to hand its most prestigious annual award–the Peace Prize–to Pamuk next month–called on prosecutors in Istanbul to abandon charges against the author.

Dieter Schormann–chairman of the Boersenverein–the group representing both publishers and booksellers in Germany–said–"We protest. We demand the Turkish state ceases proceedings against Orhan Pamuk. The freedom of the word is one of the fundamental values of a democratic society."

The German Book Trade Peace Prize council also criticized the prosecution Friday. Pamuk is set to receive the prize of 25,000 euros on October 23 in a ceremony attended by German leaders.

While Pamuk did not actually use the word genocide–his acknowledgment that 1 million Armenia’s were killed was enough to raise the ire of extreme nationalists in Turkey who called for his books to be banned.

Pamuk’s books include "My Name is Red" and "Snow". The latter was named in the New York Times Top 10 books for 2004. His books have been translated into 34 languages.

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