DAVE ITZKOFF “Paul Auster Responds After Turkish Prime Minister Calls Him ‘an Ignorant Man’” http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/paul-auster-responds-after-turkish-prime-minister-calls-him-an-ignorant-man/
Paul Auster refuses Turkey visit over jailed scribes
Renowned U.S. author Paul Auster said he refused to visit Turkey because of the number of journalists and writers that have been jailed in the country.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet’s Buket Şahin, Auster said he had protested the Turkish and Chinese governments for their treatment of journalists.
“I refuse to come to Turkey because of imprisoned journalists and writers. How many are jailed now? Over 100?" Auster said, adding that Turkey was the country he was most worried about.
"Us democrats got rid of the Bushes. We got rid of [former Vice President Dick] Cheney who should have been put on trial for war crimes," the author said. “What is going on in Turkey?"
Auster said he refused to travel to countries such as Turkey and China that lacked democratic laws even if he was invited.
Auster's latest book "Winter Journal" was published in Turkey before it was published anywhere else. Auster said it was because the publishing house acted fast and added that the book was to be published in the United States in August.
More than 25 of Auster's works have been translated into Turkish, and he remains as a very popular author in the country.
Turkey's PM takes aim at writer Paul Auster over Israel
By Daren Butler and Simon Cameron-Moore
ISTANBUL | Wed Feb 1, 2012 10:57am EST
(Reuters) - Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan branded acclaimed novelist Paul Auster as ignorant on Tuesday for refusing to visit Turkey in protest at the jailing of journalists, accusing the Jewish American writer of double-standards for visiting Israel.
Though a foreign novelist made an easy target, there is rising unease over press freedom under Erdogan among Turkish liberals, many of whom had supported his mission to strengthen democracy and tame Turkey's coup-making generals.
Some 100 members of the news media are in jail in Turkey, one of the highest numbers worldwide. The government insists they are not being prosecuted because of what they wrote.
"If you come so what? If you don't come, so what? Will Turkey lose prestige?," Erdogan said in a mocking voice to applause from provincial leaders of his ruling AK Party at a meeting in the capital Ankara.
He criticized 64-year-old Auster, author of "The New York Trilogy" and more than a dozen other novels, for visiting Israel, with which Turkey has frosty relations, accusing the Jewish state of repression and rights violations.
"Supposedly Israel is a democratic, secular country, a country where freedom of expression and individual rights and freedoms are limitless. What an ignorant man you are," Erdogan said.
"Aren't these the ones that rained bombs down on Gaza? The ones that launched phosphorus bombs and used chemical weapons. How can you not see this?" Erdogan said.
"This gentleman can't see the repression and rights violations in Israel... This is serious disrespect to Turkey."
In an interview with the Turkish daily Hurriyet published on Sunday, Auster was reported as saying he was refusing to visit Turkey to protest the imprisonment of writers and journalists,
Auster's most recent book Winter Journal has been translated into Turkish and published before the English version.
"YOU ARE ALL LIARS"
The AK Party, a socially conservative party that sprang from a banned Islamist party, won a third consecutive term in power last June, and concerns over press freedom has dogged Erdogan's government for the past few years.
Erdogan's critics have rallied round the cause of 11 journalists on trial over alleged links to a secret network conspiring to overthrow the government. They have been held in prison since last March.
One of Turkey's best known writers, Mehmet Ali Birand described media cases before the courts as "frankly a disgrace."
"You are all liars," Birand raged in the Hurriyet Daily News on Tuesday. "I'm talking about you: politicians in power, business circles, military, members of the judiciary."
"You credit those who protect your interests as "good journalists," but drag through the mud those who have contrary views. And then you dare to talk about freedom in this country."
The United States, European Union and rights groups have all criticized the prosecution of journalists which they say taints Turkey's image as a role model for democracy in the Middle East.
Last month, Erdogan filed libel cases against the editor of the Taraf newspaper Ahmet Altan and a correspondent at the paper, Perihan Magden, over articles criticizing him.
Whatever the Prime Minister might think about the state of Israel, the fact is that free speech exists there and no writers or journalists are in jail. According to the latest numbers gathered by International PEN, there are nearly one hundred writers imprisoned in Turkey, not to speak of independent publishers such as Ragip Zarakolu, whose case is being closely watched by PEN Centers around the world. All countries are flawed and beset by myriad problems, Mr. Prime Minister, including my United States, including your Turkey, and it is my firm conviction that in order to improve conditions in our countries, in every country, the freedom to speak and publish without censorship or the threat of imprisonment is a sacred right for all men and women.
*1:See also http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080204/1202096588 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080205/1202235727 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080211/1202747698 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080224/1203875355 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080312/1205292138 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080405/1207333508 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080418/1208492391 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080923/1222197918 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20080924/1222265652 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090622/1245646755 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090830/1251570565 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20090912/1252725447 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20091028/1256705010 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20100811/1281540825 http://d.hatena.ne.jp/sumita-m/20101222/1293049841