Nobel prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk has had to cancel a trip to Germany, due to begin on Friday, over fears for his safety. His personal security has become an issue since the murder this month of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul.
Like Pamuk, he had been critical of Turkey’s treatment of its Armenian and Kurdish minorities. Both men have been prosecuted under freedom of expression laws in Turkey. As the men accused of Dink’s murder were taken into court, one shouted a warning that Pamuk was next on their hit list. German police say they are unaware of any specific threat, but the international persecuted writer’s group PEN says the death threat against Pamuk should be taken seriously.
Pamuk was tried in 2005 on a charge of “insulting Turkishness” for allegedly using the word “genocide” to describe the deaths of one million Armenians in Turkey in World War One, and that 30 000 Kurds had perished in recent decades. The charges were dismissed on a technicality.