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Nationalism Has Turkey's Intellectuals on Edge

A climate of fear has settled over leading dissident intellectuals in Turkey, in the wake of the assassination last month of a prominent Turkish-Armenian writer. Ultra-nationalists have stoned churches, attempted hijackings of ferryboats, and chanted the name of the writer's killer at soccer games.

Increasingly, writers and academics who have long challenged the Turkish Republic's taboos are seeking protection from the Turkish state.

Worn down after enduring years of trials and attacks in the nationalist media, Nobel-prize winning author Orhan Pamuk recently fled the country. He was escorted to the airport by bodyguards. It's a far cry from the spirit of optimism and reform that prevailed just a few years ago, when Turkey began negotiations to join the European Union.

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Analysts predict the tensions will only get worse, as mainstream political parties compete to court the nationalist vote ahead of presidential elections.

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