Sunday, October 14, 2007

Orhan Pamuk: Armenian Genocide is a Moral Issue

By Khatchig Mouradian

The Armenian Weekly
Oct. 12, 2007

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (A.W.)—Answering a question from the audience during his book reading organized by the Harvard Bookstore on Oct. 12, Turkish novelist and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk said that the Armenian genocide is a moral issue that needs to be discussed freely in Turkey.

The question read, “What do you think about the Armenian Genocide Resolution in the U.S. Congress?” Pamuk said, “I was expecting this question.” Interrupted by laughter from the audience, Pamuk continued, “Don’t worry, I’ll get out of it.”

“For me, it’s a moral issue, it’s a personal issue,” he went on to say. “For me it’s an issue of free speech, which we don’t totally have in Turkey. … The Turkish people should be able to freely discuss [this issue].”

Pamuk added, “I basically think it is upsetting that this issue is getting to be an arm-twisting issue [between states] rather than a moral or free speech issue in Turkey.

Pamuk was in Cambridge to read from his newly published book Other Colors: Essays and a Story (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007). He is the winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Literature. In 2005, he was charged with “insulting Turkishness” under Turkey’s notorious Article 301 for saying in an interview with a Swiss magazine that “Thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody dares to talk about it.” The charges were later dropped.

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