An open letter to the Turkish author and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk

who, with the Israeli writer David Grossman, the Italian author Claudio Magris, the Algerian writer Bualem Sansal, the German author Martin Walser, and the French sociologist and politician Alfred Grosser, signed an open letter to Bashar al Assad in the French daily Liberation in which they called on Assad to resign and leave Syria.

It has been a long time since I lost interest in your literature, your novels. And I am not alone: even the bookworms who cherish writing beyond everything have left you to “the market.” However, it is clear that neither the shelves displaying your work along with Elif Şafak’s, nor the Nobel Prize you were given for obvious reasons, satisfy you. Every so often you feel the need to meddle with politics, which you frequently imply you loathe and try to stay out of. With lofty, global politics . . .
      And this is what befits you. To lengthen your shelf life, in order not to let down those who have dropped the Nobel Prize in your lap, you have to utter big words once in a while. Even if there is also a lot to say for the others with whom you act together, you come first.
      We speak the same language, it is this country that is affected by your missionary role, and your talent finds most buyers here, even if it is claimed otherwise . . .
      A letter containing a threat of the type “Resign, or else,” addressed to the president of a state would not be written for “humanitarian” reasons. Someone who worries about Assad and his family would not say, “If you don’t step down, your end will be like Saddam or Gaddafi.” Tayyip Erdoğan utters the same words at every opportunity. We would of course not spare him what we ascribe to you!
      I believe you were against the death penalty. That’s how I remember it. The president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, was hanged, with a blatant, rude show. Do you remember? And in Libya your owners saw fit to have Gaddafi lynched. Both actions were taped, with all their details, for imperialism to be able to defy humanity, to be able to make it clear to what purposes the “civilised” world can employ the barbarians—and so that people like you can write that letter.
      To what purpose, and on whose behalf, did you write that letter to Bashar al Assad? Did you want to remind him of the ruthlessness of the ones facing him? “Hey, Assad, these people have dragged Gaddafi on the ground, they poked his wounds with knives, rammed a barrel of a rifle up his rear; you can’t deal with them. While you still have the opportunity, run away.” Is that what you want to say? Others aside, is this the best our Nobel laureate writer is capable of? The “good cop” role—is that what you have finally sunk to?
      If that is your situation, you should have at least thought of adding to the end of your letter, “Well, you have been warned. Listen to our advice, or else al Qa‘ida is waiting in the next room.” That would have been complete.
      You wrote, “For the Syrian people . . .” while asking Assad to resign. Intriguing. You want the Syrian people to be left to the bad guys who are about to kill Assad violently, is that so? Let Bashar and his family find refuge somewhere like Algeria, as you suggested, and let the Syrians be left alone with those who behead people, who bomb hospitals. Do you want to cry as usual—this time from joy?
      If you are really keen on it, go and write a propaganda statement with those who cannot even put together anything more than “Death to Assad,” write scenarios for those loathsome videos released on Youtube; but do not write a letter for the well-being of the people of Syria. Nobody will fall for that.
      Your letter is repulsive throughout, sentence after sentence. Three days ago, while calling the AKP government fascist, I drew attention to their lawlessness; and now you and your friends are attacking lawlessly. You could have developed a slightly refined approach to what is going on in Syria, in order to conceal your true mission. None of that: you didn’t feel the need.
      You are openly threatening on behalf of those who have created you. The “solitary confinement cell” that you propose for Assad as a choice: isn’t that the most refined, the most sterile, the most advanced punishment method in the world? You are essentially implying, “If you dodge the lynching, that’s what is waiting for you.” No hidden code, no embellishment, no mystical décor—nothing that has brought you fame. Plain, dry, rude threat!
      Orhan Pamuk, Nobel laureate, man of letters, you are truly a fascist!

Kemal Okuyan

For the attention of the peoples of the world

The author and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, who is acting as the “vanguard commander” of the occupation forces, does not represent the intellectuals of Turkey.
      A letter to Bashar al Assad, president of Syria, was published today in the French newspaper Liberation. In addition to five other renowned authors from Italy, Algeria, Israel, Germany, and France, one of the signatories of the letter was the Turkish author Orhan Pamuk.
      The authors call on Assad to resign and leave Syria, otherwise he would end up dead like Gaddafi. The letter, which is redolent of threats and blackmailing, sarcastically includes a recommendation for Assad “to settle in Algeria” as well.
      Publishing this letter is a huge source of embarrassment regarding the responsibility that intellectuals should have at this critical period, when all the Middle East, including our country, is being threatened by imperialist occupation and when hundreds of thousands of innocent people are being murdered in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Syria by imperialism.
      The responsibility of an intellectual requires them to expose the imperialist policies of occupation. Moreover, the responsibility of being an intellectual means not relying on the armed forces of foreign occupiers.
      The signatories of this letter simply call on imperialist centres to occupy a country. These authors have clearly become tools of NATO.
      We declare to the peoples of the world: the letter in question does not represent humanity. The Turkish Nobel laureate, one of the signatories of the letter published in Liberation, does not represent the intellectuals and public conscience of Turkey. Our people have never taken the side of war and occupation and never will. This is our promise to the peoples of the world.
      This author, who is trying to be the spearhead of an occupation by holding a pen, will be isolated by the people and intellectuals of our country.

International Department, Communist Party of Turkey

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