Turkish writer faces jail for speaking out on genocide

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ANKARA, September 1 (RIA Novosti) - A prominent Turkish writer could be jailed for speaking out on the Armenian genocide in his homeland in the early 20th century and the authorities' handling of the Kurdish ethnic minority, Istanbul newspapers reported Wednesday.

Referring to the writer's publisher, the publications wrote that Orhan Pamuk, 53, faced up to three years behind bars for comments he made in an interview with a Swiss paper, Tages Anzeiger, in February.

"Thirty thousand Kurds and nearly a million Armenians were massacred on these lands, and no one, but me, has dared to speak about it," the writer said. The interview caused an uproar in Turkey's political circles, particularly from nationalistic groups.

Turkey has rejected accusations that nearly 1.5 million Armenians were killed on its soil in 1915 and Ankara is also very sensitive about the West's criticism of its handling of the Kurdish minority problem.

Pamuk, who faces his first court hearing in Istanbul on December 16, came to prominence in Europe as an intellectual writer. His books have been translated into 34 languages and published in more than 100 countries.

His novel The White Castle brought him international acclaim and he has won many international literary awards. This year, Pamuk received a peace prize from the German publishers and booksellers' association, one of the most prestigious literary awards.

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