Türkİye, World, Europe

Erdogan slams awarding of Nobel prize to Peter Handke

Handke is accused of denying of Bosnian genocide and admirer of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic

Ferdi Turkten   | 10.12.2019
Erdogan slams awarding of Nobel prize to Peter Handke


Turkey’s president Tuesday condemned the awarding of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature to Peter Handke, as the writer is accused of denying the 1995 Bosnian genocide.

“Awarding Nobel Prize in Literature to a racist individual will not mean anything other than awarding human rights violations," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a message marking Human Rights Day.

Handke is known to be a great admirer of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who died in 2006 while facing trial in The Hague for war crimes and genocide.

"Stand up if you support the Serbs," Handke wrote during the 1998-1999 Kosovo War. 

He claimed that the Muslim Bosniaks in Sarajevo had killed themselves, adding that he never believed that the Serbs had committed genocide in Srebrenica.

Handke also visited Milosevic in prison and tried to testify in his favor.

"I am here for Yugoslavia, for Serbia, for Slobodan Milosevic," Handke said in a 2006 eulogy for Milosevic.

In winning the prize, Handke will also receive 9 million Swedish kronor ($952,000) as well as a medal and a diploma.

Terrorist attacks, hostility to Islam

In his message, Erdogan also went on to say: “Unfortunately, we welcome this day [Human Rights Day] at the end of a year when the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are violated, injustice has increased, innocent people have been massacred because of their beliefs ...”

Terror acts targeting a mosque in Christchurch [New Zealand], a church in Sri Lanka and a synagogue in California reveal the desperate level of cultural racism, intolerance and hostility to Islam, Erdogan stressed.

Last March, terrorist Brenton Tarrant attacked two mosques in the city of Christchurch during Friday prayers, killing 51 people and wounding 49 others.

In April, at least 253 people were killed and 500 injured when eight explosions targeted various locations in and outside Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka.

Also in April, a shooting at a synagogue just outside of San Diego, California killed one woman and left three others injured.

Erdogan also blasted the international community for standing idle by the Syria war ongoing for nine years.

“The international community, which has ignored the screams of millions of people in Syria for nine years, has dealt the biggest blow to the values of Universal Declaration of Human Rights through its silence,” he said.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed and millions more displaced by the conflict.

Turkey’s struggle to safeguard the fundamental rights and freedoms that exist in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is ongoing at the highest level, the president concluded.

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