Orhan Pamuk wins Danish cultural prize

Orhan Pamuk wins Danish cultural prize

COPENHAGEN - Agence France-Presse
Orhan Pamuk wins Danish cultural prize

Orhan Pamuk wins the Sonning Prize due to his contributions to European culture. REUTERS photo

Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk yesterday won the 2012 Sonning Prize, Denmark’s highest cultural award that honors contributions to European culture.

 “Orhan Pamuk’s largest contribution to European culture is his obvious challenge of the cultural boundaries and his clarification of the many possibilities that lie within crossing those boundaries,” the jury at the University of Copenhagen said in a statement.

 “His work contains a strong belief in a Europe with fewer cultural boundaries, an inclusive Europe that does not choose between East and West but instead attempts to unite the two,” it said.

The author of “Snow” and “The Black Book” and other novels is a controversial figure in his home country.
His vocal criticism of issues that have long been national taboos has tagged him as renegade and a traitor, including his comments on the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire and the ongoing Kurdish conflict in the southeast. He has been the focus of a campaign backed by Reporters Without Borders for greater freedom in Turkey after becoming a victim of laws that restrict writers’ ability to criticise the country.

He was prosecuted in 2005 for telling a Swiss magazine that 30,000 Kurds and one million Armenians had been killed during World War I under the Ottoman Turks, although the case was dropped on a technicality.

The Sonning Prize is awarded every two years and comes with a 134,000-euro, cheque. Pamuk will receive his prize at a reception inCopenhagen on Oct. 26.