First Published: 2007-09-10

 
Nobel Prize author: Iraq war 'major disaster' for West
 

Turkish author Orhan Pamuk says prestige of Western civilisation ruined by 'horrors and injustice' of war.

 

Middle East Online

Pamuk: ‘one of the major disasters in the last three or four decades’

TURIN, Italy - The Iraqi war was a disaster for the US and its allies and had undermined support for democracy and secularism in the Islamic world, Nobel Prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk told Adnkronos International (AKI).

On a visit to Italy, Pamuk said the prestige of Western civilisation had been ruined by the 'horrors and injustice' of the war and it had poisoned relations between the Arab world and the US and its European allies.

"I think it is one of the major disasters in the last three or four decades, this war in Iraq. It's destroyed a peaceful approach in the Middle East towards democracy, towards human rights, western values and women's liberation," Pamuk told AKI.

He was visiting the northern city of Turin for a lecture organised by the Premio Grinzane Cavour, a prestigious Italian literary prize that he won in 2002.

Pamuk said Muslim countries were also suffering from simplistic perceptions in the West that associated Islam with terrorism, suicide killings and bombings.

"The common cliche is that Islam is a terrorist religon," he said. "It is upsetting for civilisation and serves only American military interests."

Addressing several hundred book lovers at the Palazzo Chiablese, he spoke about the historic role of the West in defining Turkey's identity - often to the country's shame.

Asked about the recent election of Turkey's Islamist-rooted president Abdullah Gul, he was cautiously optimistic.

“I don't know how Gul will behave when he is in power," Pamuk told Adnkronos. "I hope, as he said, that he defends freedom of speech, freedom, that is good. But I also expect him to defend secularism and we hope to see that."

Politics is dangerous territory for the 55-year-old author. In 2005 he faced criminal charges in Turkey for comments he made in a Swiss publication about the mass killings of Armenians and Kurds in 1915. The charges were later dropped.

"Politics happens to me, sometimes I get angry and tell the truth," Pamuk said, without referring to the incident. "Sometimes I am nervous about injustice, but essentially, spiritually, I am not a political man. Most of the time I am a man who falls into political situations."

Pamuk is one of Turkey's best selling authors and his books have been translated into more than 40 languages.

He has won many national and international literary awards including America's Pulitzer Prize. Last year he became the first Turkish writer to win the Nobel Prize – his crowning achievement - but one, he says, without any political obligations.

"It is the greatest distinction an author can achieve in his literary career -but it's that," he said. "I don't see any social connotation – I'm happy just like a child is happy with his ice cream. I am happy with my prize."

(AKI)

 

Bloodbath in Syria's eastern Ghouta

Two hardline Syria rebels announce merger

IS kills 25 Iraqi militiamen near Kirkuk

Sudan frees dozens of activists detained after protests

Saudi Arabia to host first Arab Fashion Week

Abbas calls for peace conference in rare UN speech

Egyptian court adds leading government critic on terror list

Yemen government offensive threatens heritage site

Turkey considering chemical castration for child abusers

45 civilians killed in air strikes on rebel enclave

Cairo sheds Ottoman-era street names amid Egypt-Turkey crisis

New woes for Israeli PM in fresh graft cases

Maghreb countries wary about jihadists relocating from Iraq, Syria

Erdogan says Turkey will besiege Afrin "swiftly"

Turkey releases leading pro-Kurdish politician

5 Iranian police killed in Sufi protests

Iran finds wreckage of crashed plane on top of mountain

Israel’s gas contract with Egypt: deal or no deal?

Somalia appoints new police, intelligence chiefs

Iran plane crash rescue search halted for second night

France reaffirms commitment to Iran nuclear deal

Turkey warns Syria against protecting Kurds

Abbas warms up to Moscow amid cold US-Palestinian ties

Israel strikes 'historic' gas contract with Egypt

Are Iranian satellite channels aiding regime change?

Israel pounds Gaza with air strikes after rocket attack

Iraq orders deportation of French jihadist

Pro-Assad militias to enter Syria's Afrin

Three Egyptian soldiers killed in Sinai

Israeli, US officials meet over gas row with Lebanon

Iran's supreme leader says progress needed on justice

Syria Kurds claim striking positions in Turkey

Netanyahu warns Iran, brandishes piece of metal

66 feared dead as plane crashes in Iranian mountains

Saudi women to open businesses without male permission

Netanyahu slams 'outrageous' Holocaust remark by Polish PM

Israeli air strikes kill 2 in Gaza

Six suffer breathing difficulties after Turkish shelling in Afrin

Russian mercenaries - a discrete weapon in Syria

Iran protests ban on wrestler who threw bout to avoid Israel

Fears of expanding Syrian war could trigger peace deal

Battle to free Mosul of IS 'intellectual terrorism'

Turkey frees Garman-Turk journalist after one year without charge

Turkey hands life sentences to 3 journalists for Gulen links

Turkey, US agree to ‘work together’ in Syria