Nobel winner Pamuk attacks 'nationalist' football

2nd June 2008, Comments 0 comments

Turkish novelist and Nobel prize winner Orhan Pamuk has attacked nationalist and racist tendencies surrounding the Turkish national team ahead of the Euro 2008 championships

Hamburg  -- Nobel prizewinning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk says football in Turkey serves nationalist and xenophobic thinking, but that he would still be supporting the country's team at the Euro 2008 football championships in Austria and Switzerland.

Pamuk said in an interview with the Germany's weekly Der Spiegel magazine that football in Turkey had become "a machine for the production of nationalism, xenophobia and authoritarian thought."

Pamuk referred to an ill-tempered match against Switzerland in November 2005 when the national side missed out on qualifying for the 2006 World Cup. Players and officials from both sides were involved in a brawl at the end of the match.

"That was unethical and unacceptable, especially how the Turkish newspapers reported it. Failure is blamed on the referees and some sort of conspiracies. Terrible," he was quoted as saying.

However the Istanbul-based writer, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2006, said that he was "of course for the Turkish team at the European Championships" even though Turkey coach Fatih Terim was "an ultra nationalist."

Turkey's first game at the tournament is against Portugal in Geneva on Saturday, when Pamuk also celebrates his 56th birthday. DPA

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