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Turkish novelist subject of state slander case wins Nobel Prize

[JURIST] Turkey's most prominent writer, Orhan Pamuk [JURIST news archive], won the Nobel Prize in Literature [recorded audio; press release] Thursday for his work examining the role of Islam in society. Pamuk, a visiting professor at Columbia University, said he was honored to win the prize. His critics claimed Pamuk was awarded the prize "because of his Armenian genocide claims," rather than his novels. Royal Swedish Academy [official website, English version] head Horace Engdahl disputed Pamuk's critics, saying Pamuk won the prize because he "enlarged the roots of the contemporary novel" by linking Western and Eastern culture.

Pamuk made headlines earlier this year when an Istanbul court dropped a state slander case [JURIST report] against him. Pamuk was charged with "public denigration of the Turkish identity" in connection with comments attributed to Pamuk in a Swiss magazine article about Turkey's stance on the mass killing of Armenians during World War II. In July, another Turkish court dismissed a lawsuit against Pamuk [JURIST report] brought by six nationalists claiming Pamuk made the remarks in the article about them. The lawsuit had demanded 6,000 Turkish Lira (US $4,500) from Pamuk for "making false accusations." AP has more.

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