Subscribe to The TurkEU Blog by Email

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Free speech activist detained in Turkey | The Guardian

From The Guardian:
Ragıp Zarakolu, picture
courtesy of PEN.
The international literary community is demanding the immediate release of Turkish publisher and free speech activist Ragip Zarakolu, who has been arrested and imprisoned in Turkey under the country's anti-terrorism laws.

Zarakolu, director of Belge Publishing House, a member of Turkish PEN and chair of Turkey's Freedom to Publish Committee, is one of more than 40 activists who were detained in Istanbul on Friday, according to PEN and the International Publishers Association. The arrests are part of a crackdown against Kurdish political parties which has seen more than 1,800 supporters of the banned Koma Civakên Kurdistan party jailed since 2009. PEN said that if an appeal against the charges is unsuccessful, Zarakolu will be held through a trial process which is likely to last over a year.
So this should probably be seen in the context of the continued escalation of the Kurdish conflict.

Bianet has excerpts from a letter Zarakolu has written from prison. In it, he frames his arrest in terms of a larger attack on free-thinkers in Turkey that might support the Kurdish cause:
My arrest and the accusation of membership of an illegal organization are parts of a campaign aiming to intimidate all intellectuals and democrats of Turkey and particularly to deprive the Kurds of any support.
The Guardian on Facebook
Ping your podcast