Publisher Zarakolu and others appeared in Court


Writer and publisher Ragip Zarakolu, Marmara University academic Bü?ra Ersanl? are among the 50 people taken into custody last Friday due to appear in Court today.
These latest arrests for alleged involvement in the KCK (Kurdish Communities Union) the the alleged urban wing of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) once again demonstrate that the intention of prosecutors and ultimately the state is that to literally “clear” off the political scene by putting in jail as many BDP members and supporters as it can. The arrests of academics and intellectuals committed to work with the BDP in the definition of a new framework in which arms could be take out of policy demonstrate an harassment and intimidating will. The state fears the challenging proposal which is coming from the BDP both in terms of a viable peace process and a new constitution. And it is ultimately this fear that prevail on any legal and rational movement the state and government are taking.
There is indeed no rationale behind this arrests, if not the rather pathetic attempt to prevent people from work for peace and the democratization of Turkey. It is clear that this attempt will fail, but it is also obvious that it will slow down any serious progress.
As today it will be known whether Zarakolu and the others will be remanded in custody, outside people are mobilizing against the arrests. Turkey Publishers’ Union, the Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) and the Human Rights Association (?HD) called for Zarakolu’s release.
“Rag?p Zarakolu is a writer and publisher who works for the freedom of publishing and who defends the right to the freedom of expression. He has been tried dozens of times because of this stand,” a statement from the Turkish Publishers’ Union said yesterday. “We find it very wrong and believe it is fateful … for our democracy that journalists, columnists, writers and publishers are being detained through mass detentions.”
The statement also said Zarakolu’s lawyer, Özcan K?l?ç, had not yet been informed about the nature of the accusations against the publisher.
ÇGD Chairman Ahmet Abakay said the detention of Zarakolu, who is also the head of the Turkey Publishers’ Union’s Freedom of Publishing Committee, was indicative of how the country’s present atmosphere was damaging press freedom and freedom of expression.
A signature campaign has been launched. Details (in Turkish) and signatures at

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