ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – The Swedish Academy which chooses Nobel Prize winners for literature said on Monday it was following the case against Turkish Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk, which is under investigation for allegedly insulting the founder of modern Turkey in his latest novel.
In a brief statement, the Swedish Academy said it expects Turkey to live up to its international commitments and to monitor the “treatment” that Pamuk – who won the literature award in 2006 – receives in the country.
Turkish authorities opened an investigation into Pamuk earlier this year after a lawyer based in Izmir, western Turkey, claimed the perpetrator insulted Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in his last novel, “The nights of the plague”. The lawyer claimed that passages from the novel violated laws that protect Ataturk’s memory.
The investigation initially resulted in a decision not to prosecute, but the lawyer appealed the decision and the investigation was reopened.
Pamuk and his publishing house, Yapi Kredi Yayincilik, have denied claims that the novel insults AtatÃ¼rk.
“In ‘Plague Nights’, which I worked on for 5 years, there is no disrespect for the heroic founders of nation states,” Pamuk said, quoted by the news site. Bianet. âOn the contrary, the novel was written with respect and admiration for these libertarian and heroic leaders. “
Turks still revere AtatÃ¼rk, who carved modern Turkey out of the ashes of the Ottoman Empire following WWI.
Before winning the Nobel Prize, Pamuk was tried in Turkey for “insulting Turkishness” after telling a Swiss newspaper that one million Armenians had been killed on Turkish territory at the start of the 20th century.
Historians estimate that in the last days of the Ottoman Empire, up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by the Ottoman Turks in what is widely considered the first genocide of the 20th century.
While Turkey admits that many died during this time, the country rejected the term genocide, saying the death toll was swollen and the deaths resulted from civil unrest during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
The lawsuit against Pamuk was later dismissed for a technicality.
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