Pamuk cancels trip to Germany, media say safety concerns play role

Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's internationally acclaimed novelist, who won last year's Nobel Prize in literature, canceled a trip to Germany on short notice as the German media reported that he was worried about his personal security.

Pamuk cancels trip to Germany, media say safety concerns play role

Pamuk's publisher confirmed that he had called off the trip, but declined to confirm reports in a German newspaper that he was concerned about his safety. "He has cancelled his trip, we do not have further information," said a spokeswoman for Hanser publishers in Munich. Berlin's Free University also said the writer had cancelled a visit to collect an honorary doctorate on Friday.
Germany's Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper said the trip had been called off for security reasons because Pamuk believed he could be the victim of an attack following the murder on Jan.19 of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul.
Dink, like Pamuk, was tried under an article of the Turkish Penal Code for "insulting Turkishness" for his comments about an alleged genocide of Armenians at the hands of the late Ottoman Empire in eastern Anatolia. Dink was sentenced to a six-month suspended imprisonment, while the case against Pamuk was dropped on a technicality.
In his last column before his death, Dink complained he had been loathed because he had been singled out as a person who has insulted Turkishness. Prosecutors brought charges against Pamuk after he told a Swiss paper in 2005 that one million Armenians had died in Turkey during World War I and 30,000 Kurds had perished in recent decades.
Though the court dismissed the charges against Pamuk, other writers and journalists are still being prosecuted under the Article 301 and can face a jail sentence of up to three years.
Turkey has been under intense pressure from the EU to change Article 301, while the government says it needs social consensus before taking any step on the issue. The government has consulted with non-governmental organizations on possible changes and complains they have not come up with concrete proposals on how it should be amended. NGOs, however, said they had already put forward their proposals.
Pamuk was due to have been awarded an honorary doctorate by Berlin's Free University on Friday before visiting several German cities, including Cologne, Hamburg, Stuttgart and Munich on a book reading tour starting at the end of this week. Pamuk's best-known novels include "My Name is Red" and "Snow," works that focus on the clash between past and present, East and West, secularism and Islamism -- problems at the heart of Turkey's struggle to develop.

 

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Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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