The Case Of Orhan Pamuk

While EU foreign ministers are tucked nicely away in Newport (my paternal grandmother was born there) for their ?Gymnich? summit at which trying to get Turkey accession negotiations off the ground on October 3 will be one of the top priorities, and while MEPs pass the buck to the Commission and the Council on the thorny problem of Turkey’s interpretation of a customs agreement, back in Turkey itself best selling author Orhan Pamuk has been charged by a public prosecutor for “denigrating” the nation in comments about Turkish history which appeared in a Swiss newspaper several few months ago. And what did the comments refer to: the Armenian genocide, about which, of course, Turkey is still in denial. Randy McDonald has the story:

Myself, I’m on the record as believing that the Turkish refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide is rooted in Turkish insecurities dating back to the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, when it seemed quite possible that Turks might lose a viable homeland. This is understandable even if it’s still repellent; this can be worked around.”

“The prosecution of Pamuk, however, is, besides being a crime in itself, a spectacular mistake. A country that prosecutes one of its most famous writers because he agreed with the historical consensus that, yes, there was an Armenian genocide really doesn’t strike me as the sort of country capable of living up to the requirements of European Union membership. I very much doubt that a European electorate already predisposed to reject the idea of Turkish membership in the EU will be more generous than me. Tell me, please, how exactly “Turkish identity” is compromised by the recognition that a previous Turkish state committed genocide? Denial’s one possible explanation, but it’s not a sufficient explanation.”

“For the time being, all I’ll say is that Turkey’s recognition of the Armenian genocide in some form should be a prerequisite for Turkish membership in the European Union. I wish Pamuk well in his upcoming court case–hopefully that will change something in his homeland.

Let me just second Randy here: recognition of the Armenian genocide should be a prerequisite.