|Turkey's best-known novelist Orhan Pamuk won
the 2006 Nobel prize for Literature on
Turkey's best-known novelist Orhan Pamuk, who faced trial this year for
insulting his country, won the 2006 Nobel prize for Literature on Thursday
in a decision some critics called politically charged.
In a what was seen as a test case for freedom of speech in Turkey,
Pamuk was tried for insulting "Turkishness" after telling a Swiss paper
last year that 1 million Armenians had died in Turkey during World
War I and 30,000 Kurds had perished in recent decades.
Though the court dismissed the charges on a technicality, other writers
and journalists are still being prosecuted under the article and can face
a jail sentence of up to three years.
"With all due respect to Orhan Pamuk, whose books I read and like, I
believe his comments on the Armenian genocide have been influential in his
winning this prize," said Suat Kiniklioglu, an Ankara-based political
"There is a political dimension to all this. I do not believe he was
chosen purely on the basis of his artistic capacity," Kiniklioglu said.
Pamuk, 54, shot to fame with novels that explore Turkey's complex
identity through its rich
But his criticism of modern Turkey's failure to confront darker
episodes of that past has turned him more recently into a symbol of free
thought both for the literary world and for the European Union, which
Ankara wants to join.
"What I said is not an insult, it is the truth. But what if it is
wrong? Right or wrong, do people not have the right to express their ideas
peacefully?" Pamuk asked during the trial.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn celebrated Pamuk's award as a
triumph for free speech.
"Today's Nobel Prize is good news for world literature, but also good
news for artistic freedom and for freedom of expression," he said in a