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Interview: Turkey, China share cultural similarities 2012-09-14 13:55:42 By:Xinhua  BBS of GMW.CN

"Turkey and China share similar path of modernization. Both China and Turkey want modernity but also want to preserve our glorious tradition," Turkish Nobel Literature laureate Orhan Pamuk said.

"Both Chinese and Turkish culture are non-Western. When our tradition faces Western culture, there is clashes and trauma. This contradiction between modernity and tradition is always my writing subject," Pamuk told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview.

Pamuk recently received "the most influential international writer" award from one of China's most prestigious literature platforms by Nanfang Daily Media Group as part of the 2012 South China International Literature Week.

He is amongst the most famous writers in China. "My Name Is Red "is popular among the Chinese and it has sold about half million copies. The "Museum of Innocence" is ranked in China's top ten list.

Talking about Chinese and Turkish culture years in 2012 and 2013, Pamuk suggested that contemporary and modern arts, films, TV series and literature works from both countries should be introduced to each other.

"But we have to represent the daily life of Turkish and Chinese people. How do they live now, what do they eat, what do they produce and how do they behave?" he said.

The 60-year-old writer said "Films, installations, TV series, newspapers of the daily life of Chinese and Turkish people should be represented in these culture years. The 2013 Turkish Culture Year should represent Turkish people's daily life."

"Chinese people can understand Turkey through my books ... I write my books to express myself. But since I live in Istanbul, Turkey all the time, my books talk about, narrate and present Turkey from my point of view," he said.

Pamuk said that his works were definitely influenced by Islamic civilization in writing his novels, adding "Turkey is part of Islamic civilization. I am definitely influenced by Islamic civilization. You can see the Islamic civilization from secular eyes as well. My books such as 'My Name Is Red', 'The Black Book' and 'Snow', they all contain traditional Islamic stories, which I took from their Islamic context and used them with more literary tricks, enlargement, illusion, and symmetry."

Pamuk is currently in the middle of writing a new novel, which he said will be called "A Strangeness in My Mind."

The novel, expected to be published in Turkey in the autumn of 2013, is about immigration to Istanbul from the poor parts of Anatolia.

"I think Chinese readers will love my new book because I know that each year so many people are coming from Western China to find jobs in big cities. Turkey also has been experiencing the same immigration for the past 40 years," said Pamuk.

Behind this huge interest lays the common links between the two cultures, according to Pamuk.

"We all want both modernity and tradition, which are contradictory at the same time. These are the subjects of my books. We want to be modern and enjoy the conformity of modernism but also to preserve our identity and our old way seeing things. Another reason is that we all admire traditional craftsmen devoting their life to an ideal of art. Our cultures are still traditional and we have respect to craftsmanship."

Pamuk also drew the attention to the economic booms happening both in China and Turkey. He argued that Turkey, like China, could create a new modern culture that suits humanity.

"It is very difficult to sustain the economic booms. Once it is achieved, the new middle class will be formed and the new culture will be invented. That new culture should neither imitate the past, our old traditional cultures, nor imitate the global culture. It should be a combination of what the best we get from our past and the best of global culture," he said.

China will hold the Turkish Culture Year in 2013, and for Pamuk, the best way to introduce Turkish culture to Chinese people is to give a glimpse from the daily life of the ordinary Turkish citizen.

Pamuk, a prominent novelist, screenwriter and academician of Turkey, was honored in 2006 with the Nobel Prize for Literature. His novels have sold over 11 million in 60 languages, making him Turkey's best-selling writer.

[Editor: Liu Shimeng ]
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