Debate over Azerbaijani writer's novel inflamed by translation into Armenian
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
‘I have never engaged in treason and will never do so,’ under-fire Azerbaijani novelist Akram Aylisli says.Controversy over renowned Azerbaijani novelist Akram Aylisli, who became the target of attacks from both the state and the public after the February release of his latest novel, “Stone Dreams,” has been reignited following the recent announcement by the Azerbaijan Press Agency (APA) that the book had been translated into Armenian.
Upon the news, New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) deputy Mübariz Qurbanlı said during an interview for Trent Media that the novel would be manipulated by Armenians as part of a “smear campaign against Azerbaijan,” adding that Aylisli had caused great harm to Azerbaijani society with the book.
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, Aylisli said he did not find it worth getting involved in such a discussion.
“The things I have done so far are the greatest evidence of how I love my county. I have never engaged in treason, and will never do so. I don’t want to live under another sky that is far from here,” he said when asked whether or not he was considering leaving Azerbaijan.
Aylisli also emphasized his opinion that the language of arts and literature was quite different from the language politics. “I only want the end of hostility and the introduction of peace,” he said.
After the release of “Stone Dreams” in Azerbaijan, an angry group of people gathered in front of the 76-year-old writer’s house, painting a cross on photos of him and burning them, and shouting slogans such as, “Traitor, shame on you!” A symbolic DNA test was also made on Feb. 8 in Baku to prove whether or not Aylisli was actually Armenian.
Aylisli is the recipient of numerous national and international awards. He was also declared “Azerbaijani National Writer” in 1987, but President İlham Aliyev stripped him of all national honors on Feb. 7, a first in the country’s history.
“Stone Dreams” begins with a group of young Azerbaijanis exiled from Armenia arriving in Baku, where they encounter an old Armenian man, take off his clothes, beat him, and throw him into a pool. A famous Azerbaijani artist sees the incident and tries to help the old man, but the group also starts to beat him up. The incidents after the event take place in the inner world of the artist.