Turkish Author to Avoid Charge of Insulting Military, Accusers Say

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Turkish prosecutors decided Thursday not to file charges against the country's best-known novelist for allegedly denigrating Turkey's armed forces, said lawyers who had sought to bring him to trial. But the writer still faces trial on existing charges that he insulted "Turkishness" by talking about violence against Kurds and genocide against Armenians.

Nationalist lawyers had petitioned prosecutors to file new criminal charges against the novelist, Orhan Pamuk, over a report in the German newspaper Die Welt in October that he had said the military threatened democratization in Turkey. "I don't see Justice and Development Party as a threat to Turkish democracy," he was reported as saying. "Unfortunately, the threat comes from the army, which sometimes prevents democratic development."

Prosecutors decided that there were no grounds to try Mr. Pamuk for insulting the military, according to Kemal Kerincsiz, one of the lawyers who sought charges against him. He said the prosecutors based their decision on a European human rights convention protecting free speech and on a section of Turkey's penal code that says remarks made within the spirit of criticism are not a crime. The law draws a distinction between criticism and insult.

Mr. Kerincsiz said that on Friday he would appeal the decision. "It is of course not possible for the prosecutors to make a sound decision under so much pressure," he said. "We've come to the point where we're no longer able to protect our national values. Where will it all end?"

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