Orhan Pamuk: Incompatibility of Islam and Democracy Has Been Disproven
  • Wed, 03/30/2011
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30 March 2011

Turkey’s Nobel laureate, Orhan Pamuk, speaking on a state-run television channel in Brussels, said that he is pleased to see the idea that Islam and democracy are incompatible has been invalidated.

Pamuk was in Belgium for the Passa Porta Festival, a biennial weekend-long belgian literary event The Turkish Nobel Prize winner was among more than 100 authors including Peter Esterhazy, Andrea Levy, Jens Christian Grondahl, David Mitchell, Juli Zeh and Douglas Kennedy taking part in the downtown festival, which features literary promenades, writers debates, poetry train rides and, of course, readings.

Speaking on Belgian television about the recent developments in the Arab, Pamuk argued that the Arab nations are not only seeking democracy but they also want to regain their honor. He further said he is happy to see that the other nations across the world share the Arabs' passion.

On a question about Turkey's being shown as a model of Islamic democracy in the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, the internationally renowned author said that there was a patriarchic mindset behind pointing to Turkey, which he does not like. "But Turkey has a more developed democracy than the Arab nations. I hope we will not lose that," he said.

Pamuk also talked about the recent rebellions in the Arab world when he was in Germany, where he promoted his novel Cevdet Bey and His Sons, which was translated into German. Noting that he does not want to talk about politics, Pamuk said, "Change takes place suddenly in oppressed societies because the herald of change cannot be voiced."

"Everybody thinks everything will continue the same forever, but indeed, criticism takes place in houses and other closed places. It cannot be voiced in places in the public sphere. When it cannot take place and people all of a sudden leave their houses for change, it seems to take place suddenly. It has to be sudden because if you do it slowly, then they put slow actors in [jail, etc.]"

Sources:

"Pamuk pleased incompatibility of Islam and democracy disproven" Today's Zaman March 30, 2011

"Mogwai Rocks, Dancing in Dark, Venice Masters: Brussels Weekend" Bloomberg March 25, 2011