Lebanon appoints Mustapha Adib as new Prime Minister, France President Macron calls for swift government formation in Lebanon
Turkey–The Turkish regime of Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan deals another blow to democracy and freedom of expression by imprisoning intellectuals and political opponents. The nightmare of legal actions returns to undermine the Turkish Nobel Orhan Pamuk. This time, not for his press statements, such as those on the 1915 Armenians’ massacre that cost him various lawsuits, but the words written in a fictional novel set during the last years about the Ottoman Empire on an imaginary island where an epidemic has spread.
Among the pages of the writer’s latest novel, “The nights of the plague,” there would be outrages against Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. That is the thesis accepted by the Smyrna public prosecutor who today opened an investigation – after an initial process ended in a “non-place to proceed” – starting with the charge of the lawyer Tarcan Uluk for which the alleged offense on the founding father of Turkey would constitute a “hate speech.”
In his testimony before the prosecutor, Orhan Pamuk denied the allegations, stressing he had written nothing regarding Ataturk, adding that there is no disrespect towards the fathers of the homeland otherwise in his book described as libertarian models. However, despite the great fame of Pamuk in Turkey, the news did not find an extensive place in the Turkish news and social media, and only a few voices were raised in support of the author, including that of the musician Fazil Say, who described the process as “ignoble, ignorant and vulgar.”
Pamuk is one of the best-known Turkish writers internationally. His career was studded with enormous success – he was the first Turkish citizen to receive the Nobel Prize in 2006 and tainted by prosecution and attacks. In 2005 went to trial for “insulting the Turkish Republic” after an interview with a Swiss newspaper. He expressed sorrow for the Armenians and Kurds killed in the transition period from the Ottoman Empire to the Republic.
On the way to the courtroom, the attendance was struck by the eggs thrown by a group of nationalists blaming him for being a “traitor to the homeland.” Pamuk recently recalled with pain the vital review from “secular circles” against his support in 2010 for a referendum to limit the power of the military, promoted by Sultan Erdogan. The latter, according to the writer, would have helped to take Turkey into the European Union.
Due to his progressive and democratic attitudes, nationalists and the Muslim Brothers following the Turkish president often attacked Pamuk. Yet, at the same time, the writer has never hesitated to challenge Erdogan. For example, when the Turkish leaderved for Lebanon’s religious communities.
This has led to patronage, cronyism and deep-rooted corruption in the country. Country is struggling with unemployment, poverty, financial collapse even before the Beirut blast that left thousands injured and city in ruins. Coronavirus pandemic has only accentuated the hardships in the country.