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Erdogan calls Nobel literature prize winner 'the representative of a vampire scholars community'

December 11, 2019 at 5:50 pm

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech as he attends sixth International Forum of Women in Local Governments, at ATO Congresium in Ankara, Turkey on 11 December 2019. [Mehmet Ali Özcan – Anadolu Agency]

Turkey’s president on Wednesday, Dec. 11, harshly criticized the accused war crimes supporter Austrian writer Peter Handke after he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, Reuters reports.

Speaking at a local event in the Turkish capital Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Handke to a vampire and said:

“That the Nobel has been awarded to such a man called Handke, who is the representative of a vampire scholars community, means that a vampire community appeared. Therefore, we cannot regard the Nobel foundation as a foundation, which really acts in a just and equal manner.”

Handke was awarded the prize despite his open support for Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, who died in 2006 during his trial for war crimes and genocide at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

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Handke is also accused of denying the 1995 Bosnian genocide by Dr. Christina Doctare, who received the prize for her service as a physician in the UN peacekeeping forces.

Referring to Turkish Nobel winners, Erdogan also said: “This prize is not the [same] prize that was given to [Turkish Nobel chemistry laureate] Aziz Sancar and [Turkish novelist] Orhan Pamuk. You cannot deceive anybody and will not be able to do.”

Pamuk was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 2006, while Sancar received the prize in chemistry in 2015 for his work on cells that repair DNA damage.

In winning the prize, Handke is set to receive 9 million Swedish kronor ($952,000) as well as a medal and a diploma.