Nobel laureate writer Orhan Pamuk slams climate of 'fear' in Turkey
Pamuk's just-published novel, 'Kafamda bir Tuhaflik' (A Strangeness in My Mind), touches on the issue of the oppression suffered by women in Turkey.Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006, has denounced what he described as a climate of "fear" in his country, in an interview published in daily Hürriyet on Dec. 7.
"The worst thing is that there's a fear. I find that everyone is afraid; it's not normal ... Freedom of expression has fallen to a very low level," Pamuk said.
He accused the government of pressuring the media and particularly deplored the harassment of opposition journalists.
"Lots of my friends tell me that such and such a journalist has lost his job. Now, even journalists who are very close to the government are getting harassed," said the 62-year-old novelist, who has repeatedly clashed with the Turkish state.
He also expressed dismay over recent remarks by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asserting that men and women are not equal, which grabbed world headlines.
Pamuk's latest book will hit
the shelves in Turkey next week.
"Our politicians make thoughtless statements on this point as if they want to start a fight," he said in a thinly veiled reference to the president.
Pamuk, a major cultural figure in Turkey who is known internationally for novels such as "Snow" and "My Name is Red" was the first Turk to be awarded a Nobel Prize.
The 2006 literature award caused a stir, coming a year after Pamuk broke a taboo in Turkey by saying in a magazine interview that one million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in the country during World War I. His books have been published in more than 60 languages.