The International Publishers Association fully supports Ragip Zarakolu as he continues to fight charges relating to statements he made in 2012. The 3rd Heavy Penal Court has now submitted a ‘red notice request’ to Interpol to ensure he appears before the court.
IPA Press Release, Geneva 10 September 2018
News reports quote Zarakolu’s lawyer as having requested to present his statement of defence on behalf of Zarakolu. Zarakolu, whose Belge Publishing House has come under frequent attack since the turn of the century, has lived in Sweden since 2013. He received the IPA’s Prix Voltaire for bravery in the face of intimidation in 2008. His wife, Ayşenur, also received a Special Prix Voltaire and his son Deniz was held in pre-trial detention for two and a half years before being released in May 2014.
The next court date is scheduled for 28th September in Istanbul. Zarakolu has called the actions of the court ‘International harrassment’ and asked for supporters to back a campaign to annul the hearing.
This is not the first time Turkey has used Interpol as a way of maintaining pressure on opponents of the regime based outside Turkey. In August 2017, German-Turkish author Dogan Akhanlin was arrested in Spain.
Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee said: ‘While the very difficult situation of Turkish publishers in Turkey is well publicised, it seems that this level of harassment is not enough for the Turkish Government. The repeated abuse of international mechanisms like the Interpol red notice should be condemned by the international community.’