As Turkey is considering to amend Article 301 of its penal code – that has been used to prosecute those who bring up the subject of the Armenian Genocide – Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that individual citizens can bring civil actions against their countrymen who bring up the topic of the Genocide.

Today’s Zaman, a relatively moderate newspaper from Turkey, reports that Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has “opened the way” for Turkish individuals to bring civil actions against their country’s best-known novelist and Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk for having talked about the Armenian Genocide.

The Supreme Court of Appeals yesterday nullified a local court ruling that dropped a civil suit against Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk for his controversial remarks about Armenian allegations of genocide that were published in a Swiss magazine in 2005.

A civil suit had been filed by a group of five people, including relatives of martyrs who claimed that Pamuk put the blame for atrocities committed against Armenians during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire on the entire Turkish nation with his remarks. During an interview to Swiss Das magazine Pamuk had said: “We killed 30,000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians in these lands. Nobody but me dares to say this in Turkey,” in remarks that drew ire from the Turkish public — particularly from nationalist circles.

İstanbul’s Şişli Third Civil Court of First Instance dropped the case in a 2006 ruling on the grounds that there had been no violation of the individual rights of the plaintiffs in Pamuk’s remarks. The plaintiffs appealed the court decision.


The court ruling has opened the way for thousands of families of martyrs to file cases against Pamuk. The lawyer of the plaintiffs, Kemal Kerinçsiz, who is a well-known ultranationalist, said earlier that all the families of martyrs would file cases against Pamuk and take away his Nobel Prize money if the Supreme Court of Appeals nullified the local court ruling.