The International Publishers Association (IPA) is concerned at recent reports of politically motivated violence in different parts of Turkey. Newspaper offices in Istanbul have been vandalised and a bookshop in Kırşehir burnt to the ground, while journalists and booksellers were threatened and injured.
“These fanatic attacks against institutions that are our tools to access information and culture can in no way be legitimized. These events are clear signs of the heavy price we are paying for the increasing polarization in our political life. To protect the Constitutional rights and the freedom to publish of both the bookseller in Kırşehir and the Hurriyet newspaper in istanbul is a duty of the state,” said Mr Metin Celal Zeynioglu, president of the Turkish Publishers Association.
“These attacks on people and the wilful destruction of property are to be categorically condemned. But what is worse is that these incidents are part of a pattern of intimidation, menace and assault clearly aimed at sections of the media and civil society in Turkey that disagree with the ruling party. The perpetrators of the violent actions of the past few days should be identified and charged. But the authorities prefer to turn a blind eye,” said IPA Secretary General José Borghino.
“The IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee is appalled by the recent attacks in Turkey. This is a barbarous assault on civilization itself. The Turkish government has a huge responsibility for unleashing and encouraging the nationalist sentiments that rage through that country. We call on the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to unequivocally denounce these mob attacks and take immediate action to stem the tide of assaults against free, civil society in Turkey,” said Ola Wallin, the Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee.