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Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk gets fined

ISTANBUL – Milliyet | 3/27/2011 12:00:00 AM | MUSA KESLER

Nobel Prize recipient Orhan Pamuk will pay 6,000 liras in total compensation to five people for saying in 2005, '30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians have been killed in this land.'

Nobel Prize recipient Orhan Pamuk will pay 6,000 liras in total compensation to six people for saying in 2005, “30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians have been killed in this land.” Pamuk has 15 days to appeal the court decision levying the fine, according to the legal procedures.

The prominent Turkish writer was sued in 2005 by six people, including lawyer Kemal Kerinçsiz, the head of the Lawyers’ Association at the time and currently under arrest in the Ergenekon court case, as well as four other people who are relatives of soldiers killed in action. They accused Pamuk of “having accused all Turkish people.” The Şişli court in Istanbul initially rejected to hear the case, arguing that “the complainants are simply individuals of the Turkish nation” and thus it was impossible to accept that individual rights had been violated.

Kerinçsiz then appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which decided to reject the court decision and thus asked the Şişli court to consider the case once more. After the latter’s resistance, the file was sent to the Supreme Court of Appeal’s General Committee. The committee decided in 2009 that the case concerned individuals and had to be considered by the court, “taking into account people’s honor and self-respect, as well as the feelings of belonging to a nation, in the framework of constitutional provisions.”

The Şişli court then re-assessed the file and decided Pamuk should pay compensation to the complainants.

“The right of individuals to open compensation cases was finalized. This decision is a precedent [for other cases],” legal expert Ersan Şen said, adding that the lapse of time for filing a complaint on this and other related cases had extended from one to eight years through this decision.

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