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Turkish writer said to fear for his life

Feb. 14, 2007 at 10:12 PM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Turkish novelist and Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk reportedly is in exile in the United States, living in fear for his life.

Istanbul columnist Fatih Altayli told The Telegraph he heard that "Pamuk recently withdrew $400,000 from his bank account and said he would leave Turkey and would not be returning to his country any time soon."

After the killing of Hrant Dink, an ethnic Armenian journalist, last month, Pamuk, 54, told others that he fears for his own safety. The writer angered Turkish nationalists by acknowledging that under the Ottoman Empire Turks triggered the deaths of 1 million Armenians a century ago.

With its candidacy to join the European Union already in trouble because of its Islamic government and the treatment of its Kurdish minority, Turkey's bid would be hindered more if its most prominent writer decided he was no longer safe in his homeland, the newspaper said.

In meetings with Western leaders, Abdullah Gul, Turkey's foreign minister, promised reform of an ambiguous law allowing nationalists to demand punishment for those they accuse of insulting the Turkish nation.

Gul said Turkey's standing was damaged by Dink's murder and the threat to Pamuk.

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