The Turkish justice investigates the Nobel Prize for Literature Pamuk for “insults to the founder of Turkey”

  • According to the indictment, the international novelist mocks Mustafá Kemal Atatürk in his latest book ‘Plague Nights’, not yet published in Spanish

Every November 10 at 09:05 in the morning, Turkey stop in full. Every year the mermaids they sound, the birds flee in terror and the Turks stand up straight, wherever they are. It is his annual tribute to who died on November 10, 1938, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of the Republic of Turkey and an unquestionable national hero for Turkish nationalism.

It is, in fact, so unquestionable that anyone who questions it could find themselves in trouble and even receive a subpoena. And this is the case of Turkish novelist and Nobel Prize Winner for Literature Orhan Pamuk, against whom this week a Istanbul has opened an investigation for having “insulted the founder of Turkey & rdquor ;.

The alleged crime was reflected in the latest novel from the writer, published in March 2021 in Turkish and not yet available in Spanish. ‘Plague nights’ (Veba geceleri) occurs on a fictional island in 1901, at the end of the Ottoman Empire, when a pandemic of Black Death. One of the protagonists is the Officer Kamil, a young, ambitious and nationalist military man who becomes the island’s president. When the book came out, the parallels between Kamil and Kemal (Atatürk) were clear.

“Kamil’s figure clearly mocks Atatürk’s. We demand that this novel, that insults our founder and to the Turkish flag, let it be withdrawn immediately from the shelves & rdquor ;, the lawyer explained to the Turkish press Tarcan uluk, who denounced Pamuk in the first instance.

At first, a Turkish court rejected the complaint against the novelist, but before Uluk’s appeal, another court decided to accept the case and open a investigation. Pamuk could be sentenced to a sentence of two years and six months jail time if convicted.

Those who read books

The world of Turkish culture and arts has been the first to come to the defense of the writer, who was already tried in 2005 for a similar crime. In that case it was because of “insult turquoiseness& rdquor; saying, in an interview, that “a million Armenians were killed in these lands & rdquor ;. Pamuk was referring to Armenian genocide, the existence of which Turkey denies. The writer, however, was acquitted at the first sight of that case.

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“Oh my! The ones that really they hurt to our country are those who do not read books. Lawyers who do not understand what they read, who do not know how literature works and who, furthermore, are ignorant& rdquor ;, tweeted this week Zeynep Oral, president of the PEN Turkey.

Meanwhile, Pamuk and his publisher defend themselves against the accusations. “My novel is not at all disrespect to Atatürk and the heroic founders of the nation states born from the ashes of the empire [Otomano]. On the contrary, this novel was written from respect and admiration for those liberation leaders. As everyone who reads the book will see, Kamil is a hero of many virtues who people look up to & rdquor ;, the writer said in a statement.

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The Turkish justice investigates the Nobel Prize for Literature Pamuk for “insults to the founder of Turkey”