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Orhan Pamuk’s novel in Armenia

ISTANBUL - Nobel laureate Turkish author Orhan Pamuk is introduced to his readers in Armenia. Pamuk’s first novel ’Kar’ (Snow) has become the first novel to be translated into Armenian in the history of Armenian Republic.

by Vercihan Ziflioğlu

The first and only Nobel laureate author of Turkish literature, Orhan Pamuk, has been introduced to the people of Armenia via his novel "Kar" (Snow), which was translated into Armenian by the Hamazgayin (National) Education and Culture Association in Yerevan. It is the first time in Armenian history that Turkish literature has been translated into Armenian.

Daily Agos editor-in-chief Hrant Dink, who was fatally shot Jan. 19, 2007, came up with the idea of translating Pamuk’s novels, notably "Kar," into Armenian a short time before his death.

"We are very pleased to bring together Armenian readers and the work of a Nobel laureate author," said Hamazgayin Education and Culture Association Chairwoman Lilit Kalstyan. She said intercommunal dialog would develop with cultural exchange.

"Pamuk honestly for the first time gave a voice to the pains experienced by Armenian society," she said and invited Pamuk to Armenia through the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. "We will get in touch with the publishing house within a short time. It will be our pleasure to host such a great Turkish author in Armenia." Interpreter Hagop Soğomanyan, whose book has been translated into Armenian from Russian, said: "Nobody has depicted Turkey in such a nice and epic language. The novel points out the dark sides of a snow white country."

First in the history of Armenian literature
According to data provided by the Yerevan State University’s Turkish Studies Department, the last time literature was translated from Turkish to Armenian was during the Soviet Union. The works of masters of Turkish literature Yaşar Kemal, Aziz Nesin and Sabahattin Ali were translated into Armenian during that time. Pamuk is the first author whose work has been translated into Armenian since Armenia’s independence. The special interest in Pamuk comes from his statement, "One million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds have been killed in Turkey," before receiving the Nobel Prize.

Yerevan State University Turkish Studies Department Chairman Professor Alexander Safaryan said mutual translations in Turkish and Armenian literature carried great importance for establishing dialog between the publics. Safaryan said three years ago academic Murat Belge and Osman Kavala, the founding partner of one of Turkey’s leading publishing houses, İletişim Publishing House, decided to establish a joint commission. "The commission was expected to translate works in Turkish and Armenian literature but the idea could not be realized because of financial problems."

Yerevan State University Philology expert Dr. Rupen Hovhannesi Melkonyan, who is working on his first doctoral thesis about Turkish literature, said: "The story of the novel takes place in the southeastern city of Kars. Its theme is around Armenia and its culture. That is why the book appeals to us. Also, it will be a pleasure for us to read a Nobel laureate author in Armenian."

Ara Galoyan, a journalist at weekly Armenian 168 Jam (168 Hours) newspaper, said he was very excited about the translation of the book. "Pamuk bravely tells about the bitter experiences of Armenians. It is very important to share our pain," he said.

About the novel

"Kar" (Snow) was published in Turkish in 2002 and in English in 2004. The story encapsulates many of modern Turkey’s political and cultural tensions and successfully combines humor, social commentary, mysticism and a deep sympathy with its characters. In the novel, a poet named Ka returns to Turkey after a 12-year political exile in Germany. A friend in Istanbul who works for a newspaper suggests that he to go to Kars for an interview. Under heavy snowfall, Ka tries to get to know Kars.

 

 

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