Association of American Publishers Decries Arrest of Turkish Publisher Ragip Zarakolu
AAP and its International Freedom to Publish Committee joined colleagues in the global Freedom to Publish community in condemning the formal arrest by Turkish authorities of renowned publisher and human rights advocate Ragip Zarakolu
Zarakolu is considered the preeminent voice of free expression in Turkey. He and his late wife Ayse Nur founded the Belge Publishing House there in 1977 and he chairs the Freedom to Publish Committee of the Turkish Publishers Association. Zarakolu was arrested October 28 under Turkey’s anti-terrorism laws and is imprisoned, pending trial.
“The use of anti-terrorist legislation to stifle the freedom of expression flies in the face of Turkey’s obligations under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights,” said Tom Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer, AAP.
Added Hal Fessenden, Chairman of the AAP International Freedom to Publish Committee, “Ragip Zarakolu’s arrest is unconscionable. We will continue working with publishing colleagues and others concerned with human rights around the world to free him.”
Fessenden is Vice President, Executive Director of Foreign Rights, Penguin Group USA.
Zarakolu was among 23 people arrested and charged in a continuing crackdown on free speech and human rights activities. His son Deniz Zarakolu, an editor at Belge and a Ph.D. candidate at Bilgi University, was arrested on October 4. The senior Zarakolu and his publishing house have been at the forefront of the fight for free expression in Turkey, publishing works that have challenged the government’s censorship laws. Through this lengthy struggle, the publisher has been imprisoned, had his works confiscated and destroyed and has been penalized with heavy fines imposed by authorities. In 2008, Zarakolu was recognized by the International Publishers Association for his work and commitment, and given the organization’s “Freedom to Publish Prize.”
AAP is the national trade association representing more than 250 premier U.S. publishers of high-quality entertainment, education, professional and scholarly content — produced using the most current technology, reaching the world. For more information, visit www.publishers.org The AAP Freedom to Read and International Freedom to Publish Committees defend the rights to read and produce written communications worldwide.