In a Dec. 11 interview about his new novel, Nobel laureate Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk commented on the ongoing reverberations of the large-scale corruption scandal that erupted in Turkey a year ago. “We have plenty of good reasons to oppose the incumbent government,” Pamuk told the Cumhuriyet daily. Asked to elaborate on those reasons, he said, “Let me tell you two of them. The first is freedom of thought and expression and the [government’s] repressive rule. The second is the things we became aware of after [the probe of] Dec. 17, that is, a disgraceful corruption. These two are reasons enough for a lifelong opposition to a government.”
Pamuk’s remarks show that the corruption cases and allegations against the government that emerged from the operations and probes of Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 last year have left scars in the popular conscience. Millions of dollars stashed in shoe boxes, bribes delivered to their recipients in chocolate packages, a gigantic gold smuggling scheme conducted through an Iranian “businessman,” the arrest of ministers’ sons, the resignation and dismissal of ministers and shameful corruption conversations wiretapped legally and illegally are some of the episodes of the probes now engraved in public memory.