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01/02/2007

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Die Tageszeitung, 01.02.2007

"The murder of his friend Hrant Dink shows how concrete and close the danger is," writes Dilek Zaptcioglu about Orhan Pamuk's decision to canel his tour to Germany for security reasons. "As the populist paper Hürriyet reported yesterday, brand new videos are circulating on YouTube, in which the 'true character of the Armenian ' Dink is being displayed and pictures of his corpse are mounted on the street pavement with portraits of Pamuk. For someone who made it 'from state traitor to millionaire,' Pamuk has become the object of hate for many young uneducated, unemployed Turks in Istanbul's suburbs. When Pamuk returned from Cairo last Friday, it was clear that he was being escorted from the Istanbul airport. That would seem to suggest that the Turkish security authorities are taking the threats against him seriously."


Die Zeit, 01.02.2007

"A dam has broken," says Günter Seufert, referring to the debate that has been unleashed in Turkey by the murder of Hrant Dink (more). In question is Turkey's self-image and the notorious paragraph 301. "Necime Alpay, linguist and columnist, wrote that the wording of the paragraph that ultimately killed Dink is racist. It protects only those who are ethnically Turkish and Muslim, not the Armenians and the Greeks, the Kurds and the Arabs – in short, all the other citizens of Turkey. Clearest in expression was Yasar Kemal who was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1997. He said that racism prevailed in Turkey as in almost no other country.... Never before has Turkey taken such an honest look at its own political culture. Never before were sacrosanct words like 'Turkishness' and 'Turk' so openly analysed."


Die Welt, 01.02.2007

Boris Kalnoky reports from Istanbul on Orhan Pamuk's decision to cancel his tour to Germany. Pamuk is under threat by the same people that recently killed the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink. "Dink knew he was in danger when he saw a man by the name of Veli Kücük appear at one of his trials. The man is considered the epitome of Turkey's 'deep state': an impenetrable network of security forces, judiciary, bureaucracy, and organised crime – a milieu in which supposed 'state interests' are maintained with murder, if necessary, if the political way is said to have failed. If Dink's murder was truly organised in these circles, then Pamuk does have reason to be concerned."

The film "Das wilde Leben" on the "wild life" of 68er generation sex symbol Uschi Obermaier starts in Germany today. Rüdiger Sturm interviews Obermaier and the actress who plays her, Natalia Avelon, on the values of today and yesteryear. Asked what she learned in slipping into Obermaier's skin, Avelon replies: "Optimism. Before this I was no pessimist, but I was really inspired by how Uschi never lost her lightness and humour despite everything fate has dealt her. Since taking on the role, I feel unassailable. I was also impressed by how she turned down a 10-year contract with film producer Carlo Ponti because she didn't want to lose her freedom. And then she saved herself from heroin addiction through sheer self-respect, vanity even. And anyone who can avoid being a junky through vanity alone can face up to almost any problem."


Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 01.02.2007

He has no power, and no riches. Paul Ingendaay explains the discreet charms of Spanish King Juan Carlos, who earned the respect of the international community through his break with the past: "In light of this break, it would be equally silly to adopt the finery of the Catholic kings or the personality cult of his foster father Franco. The modern Spanish monarchy is based on a new understanding of itself. It exists because Juan Carlos I didn't simply 'restore' it, but used it as a tool to bring it down to modern dimensions."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 01.02.2007

Corinne Holtz portrays the conductor Michael Gielen as an intellectual outsider. "Herbert von Karajan once said of his scrupulous colleague that 'brains, and not blood,' squirt from his baton. Similarly, a radio journalist refused to programme a birthday feature on him with the words: 'Mr Gielen is not what you'd call an event.' Those are just compliments, Gielen says. The fact is he's not someone who operates with his instinct, he goes on, and then makes one of those forthright statements that have brought him both friends and foes in the music business: 'Instincts and drives should take care of our nourishment and reproduction. But for music you should also use your head.' Michael Gielen seeks to impart to audiences the structure of a work, clad in sensuous clothing. That's a balancing act that sometimes works to the detriment of sensuality, as Gielen himself admits."


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