The show is not going on. . . not until 7 February at least.

There is a great article on the events at the Istanbul court today, on what was to be the first day of Orhan Pamuk’s trial, at the Times Online. It is obvious that the Turkish government wants to have its cake and eat it too. The government wants to convict Pamuk in the worst way, but it knows the Europeans are watching, so it has to pretend to be a civilized government. This, with the convenient excuse of the courts not knowing under which Turkish Penal Code to try Pamuk, is why the court is begging the Justice Ministry to make the decision.

In a land where prosecutors and judges can and do interpret law to their own tastes, depending on who the accused is, the Orhan Pamuk case is a huge embarrassment for the impression of Turkey that is given abroad. Who honestly believes that the court does not know which Turkish Penal Code to apply in this case? Isn’t this another example of why the entire Turkish legal system, beginning with the constitution, needs scrapping? The world should realize which is the true face of the Kemalist regime. . . it isn’t the one that feigns delicacy over the conviction of this author. The real face of the Kemalist regime is the one that is silently, desperately, hoping to find a way to hang him so that the Europeans won’t object. . . not too much, anyway.

Of course, if it had been some ordinary slob who said that a million Armenians and thirty-thousand Kurds had been slaughtered by the Turkish state, there would be no doubt in the mind of any prosecutor or judge as to which penal code to use and there would be no messing around with getting the Justice Ministry’s ruling on anything.

Some of the news coverage of the trial mentioned violence outside the court, with Kemalists throwing eggs and attacking Pamuk’s car. There was one particularly illuminating paragraph in Bianet’s report of the violence:

During entry in the Sisli District Justice Hall and exit nationalist groups making signs of wolf heads with their hands shouted slogans against Pamuk whom they charged with “treason” for admitting that “30 thousand Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in this land” in an interview with a Swiss magazine.

For those who don’t know, making the wolf’s head with the hand is the distinctive sign of the Gray Wolf.

We live in interesting times.


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