Nobel laureate Pamuk ‘worried’ about Turkey’s future, lack of dialogue
FLORENCE – Doğan News Agency
Orhan Pamuk, who has put Istanbul at the center of many novels, said that the Taksim area was charged with feelings and memories. DHA photoTurkish Nobel Laureate author Orhan Pamuk has confessed to being worried about Turkey’s future amid the government’s uncompromising attitude toward protests sparked by the demolition of Gezi Park, a small green lung at the center of Istanbul.
“I am concerned for my country and I am following the events with sorrow. There is no signal that a peaceful solution [will be reached on] the future between the government and demonstrators,” Pamuk said June 7 at a readers’ event organized in Florence by the Italian daily La Repubblica.
Responding to questions on the countrywide protests, Pamuk argued that Turkey was passing through a “change process” and criticized the government’s insistence on moving forward with a project to construct a leisure complex instead of the park.
“Everyone who lives in Istanbul has certainly an unforgettable anecdote related with [Taksim Square]. I understand and embrace those people [who are protesting]. Taksim has a huge political past. I saw conservatives, nationalists, socialists, social democrats and the military pass from there. So I hope that this will be solved with peace,” Pamuk said.
According to Pamuk, the government should not try to alter a site where so much emotions and political connotations are involved. “The government is making a mistake trying to build a shopping center in such a sensitive place.”
As an author who has put Istanbul at the center of his novels, Pamuk also told Doğan news agency that he wished that everyone would have a say about Taksim’s future. “I am very respectful about the anger of the protesters. The whole world understands them as well,” he said.
Many artists and intellectuals supported the demonstrations right from the beginning, slamming the brutal police crackdowns against civilians exercising their right to assembly. Taksim also stands as the main cultural center of Istanbul where many theaters, museums and cinemas are located.