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To Sultan: Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk

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Submitted by Sophie (Canada), Oct 23, 2005 at 08:02

Published: 23/10/2005, 06:52 (UAE)
Defiant Turkish author stands by massacre remark Reuters

Frankfurt: Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk said yesterday he stood by remarks about the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks and about the deaths of Kurds in Turkey that could land him in jail for three years.
Pamuk goes on trial in December for "insulting and weakening Turkish identity" after talking about the massacre, a taboo in Turkey.

He also said Turkish forces were partly to blame for the deaths of more than 30,000 Kurds in the 1980s and 90s.

"I repeat, I said loud and clear that 1 million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in Turkey, and I stand by that," Pamuk told a news conference in Frankfurt, where he is due to receive a major literary award today.

Turkey's most prominent writer said he had not used the word "genocide" to describe the mass killings of Armenians in 1915.

"Whether it should be called 'genocide' or 'mass murder'... or something else, has to be decided by experts."

Turkey, home to about 60,000 ethnic Armenians, rejects the charge of genocide and says both Christian Armenians and Muslim Turks suffered mass killings in a conflict during World War One.

Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink received a six-month suspended prison sentence earlier this month for insulting Turkish identity in an article.

Turkey's foreign minister has said he expects the charge against Pamuk to be dismissed.

The issue of freedom of speech has dogged Turkey's efforts to join the European Union.

Entry talks between the EU and the largely Muslim country began earlier this month after lengthy wrangling among the EU's 25 member states on conditions.

Pamuk, whose novels, including My Name is Red and Snow, have been translated into dozens of languages, said he supported Turkey's bid to join the EU.

"I wish with all my heart that Turkey will become a member of the EU but this is totally a political issue, not a cultural one," he said.
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SULTAN EFENDI, todays' facts.

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