Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk made a plea Thursday for freedom of expression in Turkey on the mass killings of Armenians carried out under the Ottoman Empire, calling on his country to become "free and more open."
"Whatever happened to Ottoman Armenians, we in Turkey should be able to talk about. It is first a Turkish issue, an issue of freedom of speech, democracy and liberal society rather than an international political issue," Pamuk said at a press conference in Moscow.
The Turkish writer -- a winner of numerous international awards for his writings -- was in Moscow to promote the Russian translation of his book "Istanbul: Memories and the City".
"I hope my country be free and more open, that we can talk about this issue without having any anxiety. But I don't know when," he said. "There should be no limits to freedom of speech" for writers, Pamuk continued.
Last year, prosecutors charged Pamuk with "public denigration of the Turkish identity" for remarks on the massacres of Armenians made in an interview with a Swiss newspaper. "One million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it," Pamuk was quoted as saying in the interview. The charges, which could have jailed Pamuk for up to three years, were later dropped.
Born in 1952 in Istanbul, Pamuk became famous for works such as "The White Castle," "My Name is Red," and "Snow." His works have been translated into 40 languages.