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EU Official Meets With Embattled Turkish Writer

8 October 2005 -- EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn met today with Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, who is awaiting trial in his country over controversial remarks he made concerning the massacre of Ottoman Armenian subjects early in the 20th century.

The meeting took place before Rehn left Turkey for Croatia.

Pamuk is set to appear before an Istanbul court in December over remarks he made to a Swiss news magazine, has suggested his words are being used to hamper relations between Turkey and the European Union.

In the interview, Pamuk referred to the killing of over 1 million ethnic Armenians during the waning years of the Ottoman Empire.

Pamuk did not use the word "genocide," a term whose use particularly inflames Turkish passions over the killings, but the author has been charged for "insulting the Turkish identity."

Turkey's successive governments have persistently denied accusations of genocide brought against Ottoman leaders by Armenians and most Western historians. Referring to the Armenian genocide has long been a criminal offense in EU-hopeful Turkey.

(AFP and RFE/RL reports)