Maureen Freely: Why is there a sustained hate campaign against the Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk?

Writer Maureen Freely talks about the sustained hate campaign in Turkey against the author and Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk.

Maureen Freely, the translator of Orhan Pamuk’s novels, discusses the events that led to a sustained hate campaign in his native Turkey. The acclaimed Turkish novelist, who was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 2006, clashed with the government after speaking out about the 1915 Armenian genocide in a Swiss magazine. Pamuk was charged with “insulting Turkishness” but the case was later dropped following an international outcry. In her talk, Freely talks about Pamuk’s reluctance to speak out about politics. She says: “With fiction and poetry and creative writing you have to have a safe space with which to play … that freedom was very much constrained. It was very very hard for him to write during the intrigue.” Another reason, says Freely for Pamuk’s silence on political issues is his desire to stay alive: “Turkey’s most famous writer is still a death target and is still suffering from the consequences of a hate campaign.”

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Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford.

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