Turkish Human Rights Organization

Turkish Publisher Arrested

Ragip Zarakolu, a well-known publisher and defender of freedom of speech was arrested on October 28 in Istanbul along with 43 other people on charges of membership in the Union of Kurdish Communities (KCK). Professor Büsra Ersanli, from the Faculty of Political Science and International Relations at Istanbul’s Marmara university, was also arrested. Zarakolu, director of the Publishing House Belge, received the 2008 International Publishers Association Freedom to Publish Prize. He is a founding members of the Turkish Human Rights Organization. He was scheduled to speak at a conference in Potsdam, Germany on November 5, on the theme, “The Internal Discussion in Turkey on 1915/1916,” i.e. the genocide against the Armenians. The arrests come on the heels of a historic decision handed down by the European Court of Human Rights on October 25, ruling that the Turkish government prosecution of historian Taner Akcam for his views on the Armenian genocide violated his freedom of expression.
Intellectuals and human rights activists immediately launched a campaign to free Mr. Zarakolu and Prof. Ersanli, among others arrests for political reasons.