Author Peter Handke faces boycott at Nobel Prize ceremony

Austrian writer Peter Handke

Turkey has said it is joining Albania and Kosovo in boycotting the Nobel awards ceremony to protest the academy's choice of Austrian Handke for the prize.

The New York Times's Roger Cohen, sharing a link to his 1994 story about a Serbian concentration camp, wrote: "shame on Nobel Committee and Swedish King for handing Nobel literature prize to Peter Handke, who calls the Bosnian genocide myth".

In 2006, Handke expressed support for Milosevic and spoke at the funeral of the former Serbian president after he died in detention during his trial at the United Nations war crimes tribunal.

Awarding the Nobel Prize to Peter Handke will only encourage "enemies of Islam and humanity", the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan' said on Tuesday.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in the city to oppose the award, including a handful of people outside the Stockholm Concert Hall holding banners urging him to "apologise to the victims of Srebrenica". Tokarczuk will, however, attend.

Organizers have refused to comment on the seating arrangements.

Between 500 and 1,000 people attended anti-Handke protest at the Norrmalmstorg square in central Stockholm.

Handke has defended his work and denied any allegiance to the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

He even wrote a travelogue, 'A Journey to the Rivers: Justice for Serbia' which caused an outrage in 1996.

At a press conference in Stockholm on Friday, Handke avoided questions on the Balkan wars.

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Handke is the author of books such as The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick and Slow Homecoming. "It's literature", he said.

"Serbia regards you as a true friend and I will avail myself to the opportunity to say that we perceive your Nobel Prize as having been won by one of us".

One Nobel Committee for Literature member, Henrik Peterson, has argued that Handke is "radically unpolitical" in his writing, and his support for the Serbs has been misunderstood.

"Justification of war atrocities during the Yugoslavia break-up must not be rewarded", he said, adding: "This will exclusively strengthen the state of denial that must be overcome and strongly condemned".

"As a serious, established writer who has a lot of clout in European literature, Handke has been used in the narrative of genocide denial in the Balkans", said Mahmutovic, who fled to Sweden as a refugee from the war in Bosnia in 1993.

But another committee member, Peter Englund, disagreed.

Last week, Gun-Britt Sundstrom, now a former Nobel Literature Prize committee member, announced her resignation over the controversial decision to award Handke.

Addressing the laureates, Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin, chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation, said: "A flagrant example of what we face is lack of respect for the overwhelming evidence demonstrating that our lifestyle negatively affects our climate". Dzaferovic further believes that by awarding Handke the Nobel Prize, the officials have also diverged from their moral compass.

"I witnessed the genocide first-hand 27 years ago when I was there".

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