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 Imprisoned Turkish publisher over alleged ties to the KCK nominated for Nobel prize

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Imprisoned Turkish publisher over alleged ties to the KCK nominated for Nobel prize  4.2.2012  
By ekurd.net staff writers

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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February 4, 2012

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 reported.

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 added.

Zarakolu was arrested Nov. 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.

The 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.

Over 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 prison.

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. 

Sources: hurriyetdailynews.com | AFP | ekurd.net | Agencies

Copyright © 2012 ekurd.net


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