Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuik risks 3 years in prison "for crimes against the state"

Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuik risks 3 years in prison "for crimes against the

Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk is being investigated by the Turkish government for allegations of "insulting" Turkey's first president and mocking the Turkish flag in his novel "Plague Nights", published in March.

Pamuk has denied the allegations.

An initial complaint was made in April by lawyer Tarcan Uluk, who claimed the book incited hatred and hostility by insulting Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and mocking the Turkish flag. The initial appeal was dismissed due to lack of evidence, but Uluk appealed the decision, resulting in the current investigation.

Turkish Law 5816, adopted in 1951, makes it illegal for any Turkish citizen to insult or defame the memory of Ataturk. Pamuk will face three years in prison if convicted.

The Nobel laureate faced similar charges in 2005, accused of "insulting Turkishness" for a comment he made in a Swiss newspaper. These charges were later dropped.

Pamuk won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2006.

"In the Plague Nights, for which I worked for five years, there is no lack of respect for the heroic founders of nation-states established by the ashes of empires or for Ataturk," Pamuk said in a statement. "On the contrary, the novel was written with respect and admiration for these freedom-loving and heroic leaders."

According to PEN America, a non-profit organization that defends freedom of expression, at least 25 writers were jailed by the Turkish government last year, the third highest number in the world.