Auster and Erdoğan controversy grows
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Lawyer Turgut Kazan, who was among the team who invited authors to the country, has contacted Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk to invite Auster to Turkey.A row between U.S. author Paul Auster and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that began after the writer said he would not visit Turkey due to the number of imprisoned journalists is continuing to grow.
According to daily Radikal, lawyer Turgut Kazan has contacted Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk to invite Auster to Turkey. Kazan and Pamuk were among the team who invited authors Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter to come to Turkey in 1985.
The dust-up began when Auster gave an interview to daily Hürriyet last month in New York after his most recent book, “Winter Journal,” was published in Turkey.
Auster said he refused to come to Turkey because of the number of imprisoned writers and journalists.
“How many [are there]? More than 100? We democrats got rid of [George W.] Bush. We got rid of [Vice President Dick] Cheney, who should be tried as a war criminal,” he said in his initial criticism. “What is happening in Turkey? It is the country that makes me worry the most. Even though I get invitations, I don’t go to countries that don’t have democratic laws. I refuse invitations from China for the same reason. I protest these governments,” was quoted as saying by the New York Times.
In response, Erdoğan criticized Auster for having previously visited Israel. “Israel is supposedly a democratic, secular country, a country where freedom of expression and individual rights and freedoms are limitless. What an ignorant man you are. Aren’t these the ones that rained bombs down on Gaza? The ones that launched phosphorus bombs and used chemical weapons. How can you not see this?” he said.
Asked why “Winter Journal” was published in Turkey before anywhere else, Auster said: “It is all about the program. The Turkish publishing house acted early.”
Auster said it would be published in Denmark and Spain in February and in the United States in August.
Auster said he could not find anything to write after his “The Brooklyn Follies” and waited for months.
“It is weird that I am waiting for a longer time between two books, but now I write faster.”