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Turkish Court Drops Case Against Novelist

January 23, 2006|From Reuters

ANKARA, Turkey — A Turkish court dropped its case against best-selling author Orhan Pamuk for allegedly insulting Turkish identity in remarks about the widespread killing of Armenians and Kurds during World War I, CNN Turk TV reported Sunday.

The Justice Ministry told Istanbul's Sisli court it had no authority under a revised penal code to pursue the case, which has been condemned by the European Union as an attack on free speech and a hurdle to Turkey's efforts to join the group.

Pamuk was charged under an article of the new penal code that forbids insulting the Turkish identity, after he was quoted in a Swiss newspaper as saying: "30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares to talk about it."

Pamuk made the remarks in February, before the new penal code came into effect.

Ankara rejects charges that Ottoman Empire forces committed genocide against Armenians but under EU pressure has called historians to debate the issue.

Pamuk, 53, could have faced up to three years in prison, although similar prosecutions have more often resulted in fines, acquittals or reprieves.

Pamuk is one of dozens of writers and scholars facing charges brought by state prosecutors for insulting Turkish identity, state institutions and the revered founder of the republic, Kemal Ataturk.

Pamuk, his publisher and lawyers were not available for comment.

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