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    Orhan Pamuk: Ataturk's Westernization project squeezes Ankara like a corset

    Hürriyet Haber
    18.10.2005 - 10:23 | Son Güncelleme:

    Turkish author Orhan Pamuk, in an interview with Spanish newspaper ABC, analyzed the turban question in Turkey, touching on what the Koran actually mentions in terms of women covering their heads, and how this has been interpreted in Turkey. Pamuk told ABC that there is tension in Turkey between the secular government and those wishing to exhibit their religiosity in state owned arenas. The author also said that he thought politics were being carried out using women, and that it was men who were doing this:

    "Islamic politicians are experts at manipulating this problem, and at making themselves appear to be the victims."
    Pamuk also noted that the turban question was in itself much more complex than what was reflected in the western media.
    "Ataturk's reforms not completely democratic"
    Speaking about Ataturk's legacy in Turkey, Pamuk expressed the view that Ataturk's Western oriented reforms were not completely democractic, and that they were carried out with the help of the army and nationalism, not by popular support. Pamuk noted that advancement along these lines for Turkey was impossible. Said Pamuk:
    "(The current situation) nourishes Islamic rooted fundamentalism, and we can see this everywhere, in every election. For this reason, despite the fact that I have no real problem with Ataturk's program of Westernization, Ataturk's military is not really suitable to our needs today, and that national, strong, Jacobean project is squeezing the government like a corset. What we need is a much more tolerant liberalism in our government."
    Touching on the Armenian question, Pamuk had this to say:
    "Trying to hide something which is not pleasant is worse than accepting it and speaking about it. Ataturk's republic, in order to move ahead faster, followed the path of forgetting the past, rather than dealing with it."


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