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CRAG E-Alert - 22 February 2005

Dear Friends & Supporters:

******* ORHAN PAMUK *******

On 6 February 2005, the Swiss Tagesanzeiger published an interview given by Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk. In his interview, Pamuk emphasised the necessity to speak publicly about the tragic events that took place in the past. He added, '30 thousand Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in Turkey. Almost no one dares speak but me, and the nationalists hate me for that.'

This statement by Pamuk aroused indignation in Turkey, and he became the target of almost all Turkish newspapers that condemned him of treason.

But Professor Halil Berktay from Sabanj University is one of those who supported Pamuk by pointing out that he told the truth. Berktay added, 'In 1915-16, about 800,000 or 1million Armenians were killed for sure. I don't know how many Kurds were killed in the Southeast of the country. But I think it is quite possible that the number of the killed Kurds amounted to 30 thousand.'

The Kayseri Bar Association has now filed charges against Pamuk in a Turkish court alleging that he made groundless claims against the Turkish identity, the Turkish military and Turkey as a whole. The lawyer who filed the charge, Pekmezci, stated that Pamuk should be punished for violating Articles 159 and 312 of the Turkish Penal Code on the charge of inciting people to hatred and animosity through the media.

However, some people have come to Pamuk's defence, including the Turkish Intelligentsia and Writers. You can read their release by logging on:

http://www.roj.tv/en/news/browse.php?mod=article&opt=view&id=738

Pamuk the author of six novels, and the recipient of major Turkish and international literary awards, has had his work translated into more than 20 languages. His latest novel, 'Kar' (Snow), was translated by Maureen Freely and included in The New York Times' list of 100 Notable Books of the Year.

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At a time when Turkey is getting ready to negotiate with the EU for a possible entry into this pan-European Club, human rights and freedom of speech or expression are not regarded as clear values - and free discussion is not allowed in Turkey despite its Eurocentric publicity in museums and on television. After all, there is a difference between legislating laws AND implementing them - and it seems that the culture still has not caught on to those values that are inherent to the European experiment.

Perhaps YOU can send a short and to-the-point message to the European Parliament Office in London and express your concern about this instance [again] where Turkey flouts the rights of its citizens - rights that the EU ought to consider implicit in any country
that aspires to join the EU.

Write your e-mail to: eplondon@europarl.eu.int

You can also log on: http://www.europarl.org.uk/uk_meps/MembersMain.htm and find your own MEP and write to her / him directly too.

Furthermore, you can share your concerns with our Foreign Secretary Jack Straw at the FCO at the following address:

Rt Hon Jack Straw, MP, Foreign Secretary, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH

Finally, you can also write directly to the Political Section of the Turkish Embassy in London in order to express your polite concern about the charges filed against the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk at: turkish.emb@btclick.com

*** Professor Richard Hovannisian in London ***

The 90th Anniversary Committee of The Armenian Genocide in the UK, with Hamazkayin, the Armenian Cultural and Educational Society, invite you to a lecture by:

PROFESSOR RICHARD HOVANNISIAN entitled LOOKING BACKWARD, MOVING FORWARD

SUNDAY, 27 FEBRUARY 2005, at 5.00 PM

NAVASARTIAN CENTRE 223 Northfields Avenue London W13

The Centre is near Northfields Tube Station: turn right at station, and you need to walk for one minute only.

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