Pamuk to Magden’s Defence

Novelist Orhan Pamuk has written a stirring denunciation for The Guardian of the charges that the Turkish government has brought against journalist Perihan Magden. She is being accused of “turning the people against military service.” Why, you ask? Because:

In the offending column, entitled “Conscientious Objection is a Human Right” Magden defended Mehmet Tarhan, who found himself in deep trouble after insisting on his right to refuse military service for reasons of conscience. She reminded her Turkish readers that the UN has acknowledged conscientious objection as a human right since the 1970s, and that of the signatories of the European Council, only the peoples of Azerbaijan and Turkey did not enjoy this right. Mehmet Tarhan is a homosexual, and because the Turkish army views homosexuality as a defect or a disability, he would have been “excused” from military service had he been willing to undergo a physical examination, but he “refused absolutely” to subject himself to such wrongful and degrading treatment.

Pamuk sounds fairly confident that “the judges presiding over the case will, no doubt, proceed with great care.” But it’s wait-and-see at the moment.

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