On Trial for Kurdish Books in Turkey

The trial against publisher Zarakolu and writer Güler on the grounds of the book “The KCK file/Global state and Kurds without a state” has started. Güler demanded to lift the ban of the book. The case was postponed to 2 December.

Writer Mehmet Güler is in court once more, this time on the grounds of his book “The KCK file/Global state and Kurds without a state”. The book was immediately banned and confiscated in May 2010, right after it had been published at the first Book Fair in Diyarbakir.

Prosecutor Hakan Karaali prepared the indictment against writer Güler and publisher Ragıp Zarakolu, official of the Belge Publishing Company. The defendants are charged with “publishing statements of the PKK”, the militant Kurdistan Workers Party, and “spreading PKK propaganda”.

Güler: My book is based on a ten-year research

Zarakolu and Güler are facing imprisonment of up to 7.5 years each. The first hearing of the case was held on Thurdsday (30 September) before the Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court. Güler stated, “I wrote this book as the result of a ten-year research. I put forward my own findings which have nothing to do with organizational propaganda”. The author requested to lift the ban which was imposed on the book right after its publication.

The hearing was observed by writer Mavia Modig from the International PEN Writers Association and writer Maureen Freely from PEN.

Both the writer and the publisher dismissed the charges pressed against them. They claimed that they aimed to contribute to the peace process related to the Kurdish question and to develop mutual understanding and empathy between the people.

Publisher Zarakolu did not attend the meeting because of health reasons. The court decided to issue a writ to bring him to court by compulsion. Furthermore, the court decreed for an evaluation regarding the final decision of the book ban. The case was adjourned to 2 December.

Prison sentence for previous book

The same court handed down a one year and 3 months prison sentence to writer Güler on the grounds of the preferences of the fictional characters in his book entitled “More difficult decisions than death”. Publisher Zarakolu was acquitted.

Thanks to Istanbul – BİA News Center 1 October 2010

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