Prosecution abandons charges against Orhan Pamuk

The justice ministry refused to support (but also declined to oppose) the move to charge the celebrated writer Orhan Pamuk with a violation of Article 301 of the Turkish penal code, according to which it is illegal to insult the republic, parliament or any organs of state, or something called "Turkishness." The justice ministry's decision relieves the country of a source of embarassment, but also removes the most prominent object of prosecution from public attention, making it easier to continue to proceed against less well-known people charged with the same offence. Ironically, the prosecution was meant to punish Mr Pamuk for telling a Swiss magazine last year, "One million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in these lands, and nobody but me dares talk about it." Among other effects of the publicity surrounding the harassment of a major literary figure, more people than him are talking about it.

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