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Turkey's Erdogan to decline Nobel Peace Prize if awarded

President condemns awarding 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature to Handke, says decision amounts to complicity in oppression

Nilay Kar Onum   | 10.12.2019
Turkey's Erdogan to decline Nobel Peace Prize if awarded

ISTANBUL

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that if he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize he would not accept it. 

Erdogan’s remarks came after the awarding of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature to Peter Handke, an Austrian writer who is accused of denying the 1995 Bosnian genocide. 

Speaking at an event held on the occasion of Human Rights Day in the capital Ankara, Erdogan said Turkey also would not participate in the Nobel ceremony, saying “awarding such a killer amounts to complicity in oppression.”

The president described the Swedish Academy as a foundation which acts politically and ideologically. 

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.

Leadership crisis in Europe

The president said the world is led by two kinds of leaders; those who have a hidden agenda and those who do not.

He noted that U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin stand out in the sense that they are forthright.

"There is a serious leadership crisis in Europe. I cannot find the courage to say: 'This is an exceptional European leader'.

“[…] Trump has no secret agenda, he expresses what he knows very clearly, and speaks to me very frankly, like I do.”

Erdogan said Putin is the same as “we don't have any secret agenda".

“We are taking our steps loud and clear [...] I believe we will establish peace in the region together.”

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