‘I protest, refuse to come to Turkey’

‘I protest, refuse to come to Turkey’

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
‘I protest, refuse to come to Turkey’

Paul Auster. Hürriyet photo

American author Paul Auster’s latest book “Winter Journal” has been translated into Turkish and first published in Turkey even before the US. The world famous author spoke to the daily Hürriyet in Brooklyn, New York, about his new book and explained why he refused to come to Turkey.

“It is all about the program. The Turkish publishing house acted early,” Auster said about why his latest book was published in Turkey before anywhere else. Auster said it would be published in Denmark and Spain in February and in the U.S. in August.

Auster said he couldn’t find anything to write after his “The Brooklyn Follies” and waited for months. “It is weird that I am waiting for longer time between two books, but now I write faster.”

More than 25 books by Auster have so far been translated into Turkish. He said he was presented with a project to make his 1999 novel “Timbuktu” into a film, but he did not like the script.

As for the Nobel Prize, Auster said he didn’t know for what criteria the award was given. “Sometimes good writers get it but sometimes not. But I am always interested in who won it. I don’t agree with the idea that this prize is that valuable for a writer. For me, the greatest three writers of 20th century are Proust, Joyce and Kafka. Art should not be perceived as an Olympic sport,” he said. Auster said he has read and enjoyed world known Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet. “He is the most important poet of 20th century Turkish poetry,” he added.

Auster refused to come to Turkey because of writers and journalists who are kept in prison, he said. “How many? More than 100? We, democrats got rid of Bush. We got rid of Cheney, who should be tried as a war criminal.”

“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,” Auster said.