TURKEY: IPA Calls for Ragıp and Deniz Zarakolu’s Acquittal

1-10.2012 – BIANET  – The International Publishers Association (IPA) has called on Turkish authorities to drop the charges against Ragıp Zarakolu, a publisher and a Nobel Peace Prize candidate nominee, as well as his son Deniz Zarakolu who is currently serving jail time.

The International Publishers Association (IPA) has called on Turkish authorities to remove all charges against Ragıp Zarakolu and his son Deniz Zarakolu who are both standing trial in the ongoing Istanbul Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case.

Deniz Zarakolu, a PhD student at Bilgi University’s Department of Political Science and a lecturerer at the Politics Academy of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP,) has remained in prison since authorities incarcerated him on Oct. 7, 2011.

The IPA’s statement highlighted the fact that dozens of writers and publishers continue to remain under arrest in Turkey and stressed the existence of ongoing human rights violations in the country. The IPA believes that many writers and intellectuals are facing charges solely in relation to their writings and publications, amounting to a violation of Turkey’s human rights obligations, the statement said. The 29th IPA Congress issued a decision on June 2012 rejecting censure, the intimidation of the media and other undemocratic practices affected through a broad definition of such terms as “defamation, state security, state secrets or terrorism,” the IPA pointed out.

“Sadly, Turkey’s strict Anti-Terror Law (TMY) overlaps with the contents of the this decision to a great extent. The wide scope of the TMY allows Turkish authorities to restrict the freedom of speech of many invidiuals in Turkey, including publishers who have been defending…the right to publish. This is especially true for the Zarakolus,” went the statement. The number of writers either on trial or under arrest in Turkey exceeds all other countries in the world, said the IPA, which is a global non-governmental organization (NGO) that represents all elements of publishing worlwide, ranging from books to magazines.