Turkey on Pamuk: one law, two sides of mouth

Turkey admits that the ongoing prosecution of Orhan Pamuk has “tarnished its image,” and says it will not bring new charges against the writer for allegedly “insulting the military” on a more recent occasion. It will, however, allow the current prosecution to proceed.

“If necessary we can change these laws [that make insulting Turkey a crime],” the foreign minister reportedly said. “However, first we will see how these laws are interpreted.”

The December 2005 issue of Words Without Borders, “Women on the Verge (Of European Union),” is devoted to writing by Turkish women. Elif Shafak contributes an essay on “Women Writers, Islam, and the Ghost of Zulaikha.” Shafak recently joined other Turkish scholars in a panel discussion on Turkey’s failure to acknowledge the Armenian genocide.

Earlier this year, she spoke about standing “on the threshold between East and West”:

As a writer who happens to be a woman, and one who is attached to both Islamic and Jewish and Christian heterodox, heretical mysticism, I reject using the rationalised, disenchanted, centralised and ‘turkified’ modern language put in front of me. […] The fact that my writing is replete with both old and new words and Sufi expressions, has led to it being extensively criticised by the conventional cultural elite, but I refuse to choose.


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