Charges Against Orhan Pamuk Dropped

by Staff

A Turkish court recently dropped charges against novelist Orhan Pamuk for insulting “Turkishness” in a comment on the country’s history. In February 2005 Pamuk told the Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger that Turkey has yet to confront both the Armenian genocide during World War I and violence in the country’s Kurdish southeast in the 1980s and '90s. "Thirty thousand Kurds and one million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it," Pamuk said at the time.

Pamuk, the author of the novels Snow (Knopf, 2004) and My Name Is Red (Knopf, 2001), and the memoir Istanbul: Memories and the City (Knopf, 2005), faced up to three years in prison if found guilty. The PEN American Center and writers Gabriel García Márquez, Salman Rushdie, and Jose Saramago condemned Pamuk’s prosecution.

Turkey, which is seeking membership in the European Union (EU), faced harsh criticism from the EU about the trial and about its commitment to free speech. There are currently over 65 other cases involving free speech now under way in Turkey, including charges against writers, academics, and publishers.