Croatian Foreign Ministry dissatisfied with Nobel prize for literature winner

Croatian Foreign Ministry dissatisfied with Nobel prize for literature winner

Croatian Foreign Ministry dissatisfied with Nobel prize for literature winner Izvor: Ilustracija, REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

Croatia's Foreign Ministry on Saturday expressed "surprise and dissatisfaction" with the awarding of the Nobel prize for literature to Peter Handke.

"Without going into Handke's literary opus and the quality of his literary work, the Ministry expresses concern about the awarding of the Nobel prize to a person politically engaged in supporting Slobodan Milosevic's Greater Serbia policy in the 1990s," a press release said.

"That policy led to wars on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, grave crimes in Kosovo and the aggression on the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in which many lives were lost, numerous people were driven out and long term instability was introduced in this part of Europe," the ministry said.

"Milosevic was held to account for genocide and crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, dying only a few weeks before a verdict was delivered. The European and world public was also taken aback by the fact that Peter Handke gave a eulogy at Milosevic's funeral," the ministry said.

It recalled that "the American, British and international PEN, as well as numerous renowned philosophers and authors around the world, assessed as unacceptable this decision by the Swedish Royal Academy because he is an author who denied historical truths and supported advocates of a genocidal policy."

The awarding of the Nobel prize to Handke has undermined the reputation and brought into question the credibility of the prize itself, the press release said.

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