Pamuk Fined for Mentioning Armenian, Kurdish Deaths

Orhan Pamuk

BY NANORE BARSOUMIAN
From the Armenian Weekly

ISTANBUL—A Turkish court has ordered Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk to pay 6,000 liras (about $4,000) to six individuals—1,000 liras each—in compensation for insulting their “Turkishness” after citing the number of Kurds and Armenians killed in Turkey. He has two weeks to appeal the case.

In February 2005, Pamuk told a Swiss newspaper, “Thirty-thousand Kurds and one million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it.” Six individuals launched a lawsuit against the novelist, including the ultra-nationalist lawyer Kemal Kerincsiz who is a suspect in the alleged Ergenekon coup plot against the Turkish government. The five others are said to be relatives of soldiers killed during Turkey’s fight against “terrorism.” They claimed Pamuk “accused all Turkish people” in his words.

Initially, the suit was rejected by the court in Sisli, a district in Istanbul. The plaintiffs then appealed to the Supreme Court of Appeals. In 2009, the court deemed the case worthy of consideration. The Sisli court then reevaluated the case, and on March 27, 2011, ordered Pamuk to pay compensation to the plaintiffs.

Some Turkish writers and intellectuals have expressed their outrage at the court’s decision. They have pointed out that Pamuk did not even use the word “Turk” in his comment. “So why did they file a lawsuit against him? And what will happen if everyone decides to file a lawsuit against Pamuk? Will he pay compensation to all of them? It is hard to accept the fact that we are pushing an author who brought the Nobel Prize to Turkey into a corner,” Oral Calislar, a journalist, writer, and one of the initiators of the apology campaign launched by Turkish intellectuals in December 2008, told the Sunday Zaman.

A world-renowned writer, Pamuk received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006. His books have been translated into about 50 languages. His widely acclaimed novel Snow was translated into Armenian by the Hamazkayin Armenian Educational and Cultural Society in 2009, becoming the first literary work by a Turkish author to be translated into Armenian since the country regained its independence from the Soviet Union.

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3 Comments

  1. SWITZERLAND said:

    WHAT A SHAME FOR ORHAN PAMUK! i wouldn’t give them one cent. i’d pack my bags and move to a
    open free society to live my life the way it should be lived. they don’t appreciate his Nobel Prize he brought
    to turkey, i would be Ashamed if that was my country trying to lock me up.

  2. Hripsime said:

    I think Orhan Pamuk is a real brave man! I have read his books and love them! I think whole world respect him except Turkey!

  3. Anicka said:

    the Turks are the only ones who deny their genocide of Christians and Kurds! Turkey is like a big, fat bully that no one likes. This big, fat bully sticks his head in the sand (or somewhere even darker ! :) and says, “I can’t see the truth—so it doesn’t exist!” The joke is on Turkey, though, as the whole world knows that its leaders committed genocide against Kurds, Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians. TURKEY, the world implores you–COME OUT OF YOUR DARKNESS! And may God bless Orhan Pamuk, artist and truth-teller!!

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