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 IPA says Turkish Publisher Ragip Zarakolu Deserves the Nobel Prize, not Prison

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IPA says Turkish Publisher Ragip Zarakolu Deserves the Nobel Prize, not Prison  5.11.2011  







November 5, 2011

GENEVA, Switzerland,— The International Publishers Association (IPA) and the worldwide association of writers PEN International criticized the arrest of writer and publisher Ragıp Zarakolu. Zarakolu was arrested on 1 November in the scope of a crackdown on the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK), the umbrella organization that also includes the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

IPA called for the immediate release of Zarakolu. "Ragıp Zarakolu is the pride of publishing. He is the        

IPA says Turkish Publisher Ragip Zarakolu Deserves the Nobel Prize, not Prison. IPA Calls for Immediate Release of Turkish Publisher.
limelight of freedom to publish in Turkey. (...) This man does not belong to prison, he deserves a Nobel Prize.", Bjorn Smith-Simonsen, Chair of IPA's Freedom to Publish Committee (FTPC), said. "The trial is likely to begin in a year's time only. Ragıp Zarakolu's health is not good. We fear that he will not stand his detention conditions in the terrible F-type (high security) prisons. This is an additional reason for the Turkish authorities to show compassion and release him immediately", the IPA urged.

PEN International described Zarakolu in their announcement as a person whose name is being "respected internationally in the struggle for freedom of writing and publishing".

PEN American Center Freedom to Write Program Director Larry Siems said in an announcement, "It is essential not to confuse the efforts of those who,www.ekurd.net like Ragip Zarakolu, have worked to bring down barriers of censorship in Turkey with those who press political agendas through violence. Zarakolu is an honored PEN colleague and an internationally-recognized defender of the right to write and publish freely. We emphatically protest his arrest."

IPA Press Release

Publisher Ragip Zarakolu, recipient of the 2008 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize, was arrested on Friday, 28 October 2011 in Istanbul. The 14th High Criminal Court in Besiktas, Istanbul decided earlier today, following a 28-hour long hearing, to incarcerate the man whom many view as Turkey’s most prominent freedom of expression and minority rights activist.

In particular, he is being accused of being a member of an illegal organisation under the anti-terror legislation. IPA considers his imprisonment to be in violation of Turkey’s international treaty obligations. IPA therefore demands that he be released immediately.
 
IPA therefore demands that he be released immediately until the trial begins. Ragıp Zarakolu is widely considered as a freedom to publish hero. One of Ragıp Zarakolu’s son, Deniz Zarakolu, was also arrested on 2 October 2011 after having lectured on political philosophy at the (legal) pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy (BDP) party political science academy, and has been detained since at the Edirne F-type (high security) prison. The charges against Ragıp Zarakolu are reportedly also related to a speech he made at an event organised by the BDP party, and articles published in the newspaper Ögür Gündem (Free Agenda). These arrests are part of a larger crackdown initiated in 2009 and still on-going against Kurdish political parties. IPA is concerned that Ragıp and Deniz Zarakolu’s imprisonment, alongside several other writers and intellectuals like Professor Büşra Ersanlı, is in violation of Turkey’s obligations under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Article
10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Says Bjørn Smith-Simonsen, Chair of IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee (FTPC): “October is an extremely sad month for freedom to publish in Turkey and worldwide. Ragıp Zarakolu is the pride of publishing. He is the limelight of freedom to publish in Turkey. He is a tireless human and minority rights activist. Up to now, his quest for truth, reconciliation and justice has been unstoppable. This man does not belong to prison, he deserves a Nobel Prize. We demand that Ragıp Zarakolu, the recipient of IPA’s Freedom to Publish Prize be released immediately. The trial is likely to begin in a year’s time only. Ragıp Zarakolu’s health is not good. We fear that he will not stand his detention conditions in the terrible F-type (high security) prisons. This is an additional reason for the Turkish authorities to show compassion and release him immediately”.

Jens Bammel, IPA's Secretary General, adds: "As the EU Commission’s 2011 Turkey Progress report stresses, legal amendments to the Turkish anti-terror legislation are very much needed to comply with various rulings of the European Court of Human Rights... for complete Press release by IPA click here

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list. 

Copyright ©, respective author or news agency, internationalpublishers.org | bianet.org | ekurd.net | Agencies
 

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