Nobel Laureate Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk said Turkish Government adopted a rough approach to the Kurdish issue.

Pamuk who attended the "Charlie Rose Show" on american CBS channel, said one of the two fundamental conflicts in Turkey were between Kurdish people struggling for more cultural, religious, and political rights and the hawkish attitude of the Central government which feared that.

He said if the government did not adopt a softer and more liberal approach to the issue, the problems would continue.

Pamuk said the other fundamental conflict was the "fight between secularists and so called islamists". He said this was a fight that?s been going on in Turkey for the last two centuries.

"It’s changing faces, words, and this started as Turkey began to develop its occidentalisation, westernization project," said Pamuk.

Pamuk stressed that Turkey was definitely a secular country. He said even the fact that Turkey was being governed by a party with leaders who used to call themselves islamists 10 years ago did not change the picture much.

Pamuk said Kemal Atatürk's secularism project had been successful but democracy itself and issues like human rights, freedom of speech were problematic in Turkey.

He said that the ruling elite, some parts of the army, and the bureaucracy is very conservative and very authoritarian.

He argued that in order not to loose their privileges the ruling elite was using the fear that democratic regime would turn into theocracy through elections, as a pretext.

He said the ruling elite was upset about the accession negotiations with the EU, as they feared to lose some of their privileges as a consequence.

Pamuk said in the end he felt culturally closer to this political elite as they were more "westernized" noting however that they were troubled by their authoritarianism and intolerance.

"Another internal problem of Turkey is that secularists and --most of them are nice people, good people-- do not have much respect for democracy, people2s votes and human rights," said Pamuk.

AA