Gariwo: the gardens of the Righteous

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Orhan Pamuk 1952

Nobel Prize who reported clashes and connections between different cultures

Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk was born in Istanbul in 1952 into a middle-class family and he attended the American high school in the capital. Under pressure from his parents, he initially enrolled in Istanbul’s Technical University to study architecture, but later decided to switch to the Institute of Journalism, graduating in 1977. From 1985 to 1988 he was in the United States where he became a visiting scholar at Columbia University in New York. He then returned to Istanbul, where he refused the title of " State artist" assigned to him by the Turkish government.
In the summer of 2005 criminal charges were pressed against him for certain outspoken declarations made to a Swiss magazine on the Armenian genocide and the Kurdish massacres. His trial, which attracted the attention of the international press, began on 16 December 2005, and was then suspended while awaiting the approval of the Turkish minister of justice. In spite of the considerable success he enjoyed in his own country, part of Turkish public opinion – sensitive to nationalist propaganda – turned against Pamuk in the incandescent climate that accompanied Turkey’s application to join the European Union and the ensuing scrutiny of the country’s recent past. Following international pressure and the embarrassment of the Turkish government, however, the charges against him were dropped on 22 January 2006, his behaviour no longer constituting a crime according to the newly approved penal code.
Soon afterwards Pamuk received the Nobel prize for literature with the following motivation: "In the quest for the melancholic soul of his native city, (Pamuk) has discovered new symbols for the clash and interlacing of cultures."
In 2007, after the assassination of the Turkish-Armenian writer Hrant Dink, Pamuk received repeated death threats, which forced him to cancel a series of conferences in Germany and in Belgium and to leave his native land, at least temporarily. One of Dink’s assassins, captured by the police, shouted: "Pamuk, you’ll be next" at the TV cameras while being transferred from the court to prison.
Pamuk was the first writer from the Muslim world to condemn the Iranian fatwa issued against Salman Rushdie.
His novels have been published in over forty languages.
His works include: The White Castle (1990), The Black Book (1994), The New Life (1997), My Name is Red (2001), Snow (2004), Istanbul (2005).

Figures of truth

against the denial of the Armenian Genocide

Individuals that have not received a plaque on the Mural of Memory in Yerevan, nor the recognition of the committee “Memory is the Future”, but are distinct in their opposition to arguments of denial still prevalent in Turkey. Among them are a couple of intellectuals from Turkey who have not accepted to reject their duty of recognizing the truth and because of this are persecuted and threatened in their homeland. Journalist Hrant Dink, an Armenian, paid with his life to fight for the recognition of the genocide in Turkey.