Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's most prominent novelist, is being prosecuted by the Turkish state because he made insulting remarks about Turkey's past. In a Swiss newspaper he recently remarked that he is the only one in his country who dares to discuss the genocide of Armenians by the Turks in 1915/16.
He was right: he was immediately accused by a state prosecutor of un-Turkish behavior.
Whatever the historical truth of the genocide may be (I read shocking articles about the genocide, but I know there are historians who disagree), it is quite ridiculous that a modern state is suppressing Orhan's freedom of speech this way. If this rule would be the rule in the EU and the USA, many commentators and writers would be looking for other jobs (I know: this in itself is not a bad idea - yes, some of you are thinking along these lines about me too).
The way Orhan is being treated is significant for what the Turkish state is: a multi-faced organism with modern and dangerous masks. It is ridiculous to start negotiating with such a state about full EU-membership.
Dutch under-secretary for European Affairs Atzo Nicolai finally had the guts to expose this insanity.
In a remarkable op-ed piece in today's Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant (not on-line), he wrote that the treatment of Orhan should have consequences for the 'negotiations' between the EU and Turkey (read more about it on the Dutch website of Elsevier, the weekly for which I wrote a weekly column and to which I will return in January).
He is absolutely right. Salman Rushdie wrote in The Times a strong and convincing op-ed piece about Orhan: 'How can a country that victimises its greatest living writer also join the EU?'
Now Nicolai is ringing the alarm bell.
It is time to wake up.