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EU official says Turkish novelist trial meant as provocation

[JURIST] The official in charge of European Union expansion said Tuesday that Turkey [JURIST news archive] is deliberately provoking them by choosing to hold the trial of Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk [Wikipedia backgrounder] at the same time as an EU summit. Pamuk is accused of insulting Turkey's national character by saying "thirty-thousand Kurds and one million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it" in an interview with a Swiss newspaper magazine. The new Turkish penal code, adopted at the UN's insistence, makes it a crime to denigrate Turkey's national identity. EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn [official profile] said that the Pamuk case violates the European Convention on Human Rights [PDF text] and that it "raises serious questions about the interpretation of Turkey's new penal code." Rehn also said that the December 16 date to hold the novelist's trial "can't be just a coincidence, it has to be a provocation." Also Tuesday, Rehn warned that talks related to Turkey's possible entry into the EU would depend on whether it acknowledges the existence of Cyprus. Even though Turkey has extended its existing customs arrangements to Cyprus, it did so with the declaration that this did not mean it formally recognized Cyprus as a country, a move that Rehn calls "regrettable." AP has more.

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