Orhan Pamuk is a famous writer from Turkey who is challenging freedom of expression in his country. In daring to comment about the genocide of thousands in Turkey he is now facing prosecution for the ‘public denigration of Turkish identity’. If convicted, Pamuk faces three years in prison, even longer if he publicly discusses his case before it goes to trial in December.
‘I said loud and clear that one million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in Turkey, and I stand by that. For me, these are scholarly issues,’ said Pamuk. ‘I am a novelist. I address human suffering and pain and it is obvious, even in Turkey, that there was an immense hidden pain which we now have to face.’
In finding the courage to speak out about his views on freedom of expression Orhan is creating a stir all throughout Turkey. The International community is taking notice of his case as well and this week he is being awarded with the German Peace Prize.
When people in the public eye challenge oppression and human rights violations it is a huge and bold step toward creating change.
‘It goes without saying that I stand by my words,’ he’s said in recent interviews. ‘And even more, I stand by my right to say them.’