Imprisoned Turkish publisher over alleged
ties to the KCK nominated for Nobel prize
By ekurd.net staff writers
February 4, 2012
Ragıp Zarakolu (L) in jail for his alleged
links to the KCK, the alleged urban wing of the
outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
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STOCKHOLM, — Members from the Swedish
Parliament nominate imprisoned Turkish publisher and
human rights defender Ragıp Zarakolu for the Nobel
Peace Prize. The nomination comes amid a debate over
the prize’s criteria, Turkish hurriyet daily
Turkey’s prisons abound with writers, intellectuals
and academics, a direct contradiction to the
country’s desire to become a model for the Middle
East, said Swedish Parliamentarian Armineh Kakabaveh,
who recently nominated arrested journalist Ragıp
Zarakolu for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“I am greatly honored to nominate Zarakolu for this
prize. I hope the Nobel Committee accepts Zarakolu’s
candidacy,” said Kakabaveh, one of five Swedish
deputies who recently filed a formal appeal with the
Norwegian Nobel Committee to nominate Zarakolu, a
Turkish writer, journalist and publisher who has
remained behind bars since Nov. 1, 2011, for his
alleged links to the KCK, the alleged urban wing of
the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“As far as we know, no one has had access yet to the
[indictment] file, including Ragıp’s lawyer. He [has
remained] behind bars for more than three months
already. What kind of rule of law is this? Turkey
should free Zarakolu and all the journalists,
writers and intellectuals who have not advocated
violence,” said Bjorn Smith-Simeonsen, the head of
the Freedom to Publish Committee of the Geneva-based
International Publishing Association (IPA), which
has vigorously campaigned for Zarakolu’s nomination
for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Zarakolu’s nomination also comes amid an ongoing
debate in Sweden over the criteria employed to
select the winner of the coveted prize which some
say has strayed from the procedures prescribed by
Alfred Nobel, the founder of the prize, in his will.
Critics have argued the Nobel Peace Prize has
transformed into an award for democracy and women’s
rights, in contrast with its original purpose to
merely promote disarmament.
“Ragıp Zarakolu is an internationally recognized
defender of the right to write and publish freely.
It is essential not to confuse the efforts of those
who, like Ragıp Zarakolu, have worked to bring down
the barriers of censorship in Turkey with those who
press political agendas through violence,” Smith-Simeonsen
1, 2011 by order of the court over his alleged links
to the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the
alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan
Workers’ Party (PKK). Also a university professor
Prof. Busra Ersanli,
a political scientist was arrested for alleged ties
to the KCK.
“It is incredible that Zarakolu was treated as a
terrorist and imprisoned. He strived for human
rights, the freedom of thought and Turkey’s
democratization for his entire life,” eminent
Norwegian author Eugene Schoulgin said.
Ragip Zarakolu, is also the chairman of the
Publishers Association Freedom to Publish Committee
of Turkey. Zarakolu was taken into custody on
October 28, 2011, during a large-scale manhunt in
Istanbul against Kurdish and human rights activists.
KCK-trial began on October 18, 2010 when a Turkish
court began the trial
of 152 high profile Kurdish politicians and rights defenders,www.ekurd.net
accused of being the urban wing of the
outlawed separatist Kurdish (Kurdistan Workers'
Party) PKK rebels.
7748 people were taken into
custody and 3895 persons were
arrested in the scope of KCK operations during the past six months, the
pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party announced.
Dozens of BDP executives and employees are still in
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
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
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
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
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.
Sources: hurriyetdailynews.com | AFP | ekurd.net
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