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🦋 Pamuk in 2005: a chronology

These are the events leading up to Pamuk's trial in 2005, as related in Chapter 1 of Autobiographies of Orhan Pamuk. I've converted them into tabular format for easy reference.

Dramatis Personæ

  • Orhan Pamuk: the author and subject of the persecution.
  • Mehmet Özer: president of the Anatolia Professional Association of Owners of Scientific and Literary Works.
  • Mehmet Üçok: attorney at law.
  • Orhan Pekmezçi: attorney at law. Earlier Pekmezci had applied to the European Court of Human Rights, demanding annulment of the French Parliament decision on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
  • Mustafa Altınpınar: governor of the Sütçüler district in the south.
  • Recep Erdoğan: Prime Minister of Turkey. In 1998, he was tried and convicted on charges of threatening the secular nature of the Turkish state. Liberalization of the Penal Code allowed him to run for office in 2003 although he had been convicted.
  • Deniz Baykal: leader of the Turkish People's Party.
  • Turgay Evsen: public prosecutor in Istanbul. He had attempted to prosecute Erdoğan for "insulting the state" in 2001.
  • Hrant Dink: Turkish Armenian journalist. He was assassinated on January 19, 2007. (Note, his lawer was Fethiye Çetin.)
  • Kemal Kerincsiz: chairman of the Turkish Lawyers' Association.
  • Metin Aydın: judge presiding over Pamuk's trial.
  • Cemil Çiçek: Minister of Justice.


February 5"Der meistgehasste Türke" is published in Switzerland. In this interview, Pamuk alludes to the million Armenians killed in Turkey. The interview is quickly translated and printed in Turkey. Newspaper columnists attack Pamuk.
February 16In Kayseri, Mehmet Özer and Mehmet Üçok file charges of "insulting the Turkish identity" against Pamuk.
February 18Orhan Pekmezçi joins the suit, adding charges of violating Articles 159 and 312 of the Turkish Penal Code. (It looks to me like 159 was already invoked above.)
February 19Pamuk is quoted in Zaman to the effect that his interview is being misrepresented.
Early MarchPrime Minister Erdoğan and opposition leader Baykal call for the establishment of a joint Turkish-Armenian commission to research the events of 1915-23.
March 27Books by Pamuk are burned at a "Respect the Flag" rally in Bilecik.
March 29Mustafa Altınpınar issues an order that Pamuk's books should be removed from district libraries and bookstores. The provincial governor cancels the order.
April 2Anti-Pamuk demonstrations in İsparta province. Demonstrators demand a trial. At this time Pamuk is in London and New York; he gives an interview to Ángel Gurría-Quintana.
JunePamuk returns to Istanbul. The controversy over his remarks has died down; the Instanbul prosecutor dismisses the charges against him.
June 1The Turkish legislature passes Article 301 of the Penal Code, replacing Article 159.
July 7Turgay Evsen prosecutes Hrant Dink on charges of "denigrating the Turkish identity".
August 31Turgay Evsen files charges against Pamuk in Istanbul under article 301. The court announces that Pamuk will be arrested, but instead "invites" him to appear in court.
October 3The EU votes on considering Turkey for membership. The vote passes, marking the opening of membership negotiations.
OctoberHrant Dink is convicted and sentenced to six months in prison.
October 13The Nobel Prize for Literature is awarded to Harold Pinter. Pamuk had been a contender.
October 14In a television interview, Pamuk backs off some from his statements in February.
Late OctoberPamuk says, in an interview in Die Welt, that the Turkish military "impedes democratic development." Kemal Kerincsiz uses this remark as the basis for a new Article 301 charge.
Pamuk accepts the Friedenspreis from the German Book Trade.
December 2Metin Aydın rules Pamuk cannot be tried under Article 301 for an offense committed before the new Penal Code went into effect. He will have to be tried under Article 159 of the earlier code, which requires the approval of the Minister of Justice.
December 13José Saramago televises a manifesto in support of Pamuk.
December 16The date of the trial. Judge Aydın announces that he has not received authorization from the Minister, and adjourns until February 7. Protestors throw eggs at Pamuk and call him a traitor.
January 23Judge Aydın announces that Minister Çiçek has declined to issue a ruling, and that he has no choice but to drop charges against Pamuk.

posted evening of Tuesday, July first, 2008
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