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14 February

Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk censored in his homeland

Pamuk confirms to the P24-led SUSMA that his interview was not published because it included criticism of proposed constitutional amendment


 
News reports claiming that an interview with Turkish author and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk conducted for the Hürriyet daily was not published are true, Pamuk has confirmed.
 
On Feb. 14, the independent news website T24 reported that an interview conducted with Pamuk, slated for publication on Feb. 13 in Hürriyet -- one of Turkey’s highest circulation dailies -- was not published because it included criticism of a proposed constitutional amendment.
 
The report claimed that Hürriyet’s newly appointed Washington Bureau Chief Cansu Çamlıbel interviewed Pamuk, but the editorial board decided to forgo the piece, on the grounds that it included remarks from the Nobel laureate that were against the proposed changes.
 
In an email statement to the Susma Platform, the author confirmed that the story was true. “The news is unfortunately true,” Pamuk said, adding that Çamlıbel had conducted a lengthy interview with him. He said he was also asked a question about whether he would vote in favor of the proposed amendments. “I said I was going to vote ‘No’ and explained the rationale behind my decision. In the end, the interview wasn’t published.”
 
The censorship of the interview comes after a TV anchor was fired last week from the television network Kanal D, owned by the same media holding as Hürriyet, after publicly expressing that he was planning to vote against the proposed amendments.
 
On Jan. 21, the Turkish parliament approved a constitutional amendment that would change the current system of government from parliamentary to presidential. Those changes will now go to a popular referendum, which will take place on April 16. Critics worry that the proposed amendments give too much power to the president.
 
Doğan Media Group, which owns Hürriyet and Kanal D, was issued a record $2.5bn tax fine in 2009 in what was seen as a politically motivated decision. Over the past years, many critical journalists employed at different Doğan-owned media outlets have lost their jobs. 

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