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      Publishers Praise bianet for Rigths Advocacy

Publishers Praise bianet for Rigths Advocacy   15/06/2006

Publishers Praise bianet for Rigths Advocacy

Publishers Union prizes bianet for support and advocacy for freedom of expression. Chair Tuzuner says 22 publishing houses, 47 authors and 49 books were persecuted in the past year. 11 of these cases ended with acquittal while11 others led to sentences.

BIA News Center

15/06/2006

BİA (Istanbul) - In recognition of its "contributions to the freedom of expression", bianet received a plaque of gratitude from the Publishers Union of Turkey (TYB) which held its 2006 Freedom of Opinion and Expression Awards c

eremony in Istanbul on the evening of June 14, Wednesday.

Journalist Nadire Mater, advisor of the Monitoring and Covering Media Freedom and Independent Journalism and News Network Project (BİA²), received the award from Social Democracy Foundation founder

Tuzuner: Freedoms vital for publishing

Delivering a speech before the ceremony held at the Taxim Hill Hotel, TYB chairman Cetin Tuzuner said the freedom of opinion and expression together with the freedom of publishing was vital for publishers but despite this, in the past year alone, court cases had been opened against 22 publishing houses, 47 authors and 49 books in Turkey.

He said that 11 of these cases had resulted with acquittal, 11 others led to various sentences while 2 of the cases had been dismissed.

Tuzuner said that for the past years they were giving awards to publishers and authors who were repressed in hope that this would be the last, and added, "all opinions that do not harm the indivisible integrity of the state and do not incite war should be freely expressed".

Zarakolu: I feel deceived

Disclosing the TYB Publishing Freedom Committee 2006 Publishing Freedom Report before the ceremony, Committee chairman Ragıp Zarakolu said that in view of the conditi

Noting that Turkey's membership to the European Union was not that important, Zarakolu said Turkey was in any event a part of Europe since the 19th century and stressed how important it was for the country to re-enter a serious period of reforms.

"Increase in ideological cases"

Referring to data provided by the Interior Ministry, Zarakolu said that between the years 2000- 2005 a total of 284 different books had been confiscated and that after the recent legal changed the ban on 47 of these was lifted while it was still in force for the remaining 237.

Zarakolu said that since October 2004 it was rare for a book to be banned but that instead of this, court cases continued against books, authors and publishers based on definitions such as "contempt", "ridiculing", "obscene" , "separatist", "destructive", "pro-religious" and "anti-religious" which reflected an increase in trials taken up on an ideological basis.

Arguing that the Justice mechanism in Turkey was being unnecessarily occupied by complaints made on claims of "Insulting Turkishism, the Army, Republic, Memory of Ataturk", Zarakolu said this damaged the image of the justice system. He added that in such cases Orhan Pamuk, Perihan Magden, Murat Belge, Ismet Berkan, Hasan Cemal and other journalists and authors were left to face violence.

Zarakolu said that the last name to be added to the list of internationally accredited authors accused as result of complaints was Elik Safak, for her latest book "Father and Bastard" while listing cases launched against "Agos" newspaper's Hrant Dink, Aydın Engin, Arat Dink and Serkis Seropyan and "Cumhuriyet" newspaper's Ilhan Selçuk, Mehmet Sucu, Alper Turgut, Ibrahim Yıldız and Ilhan Taşçı as exampled of prosecution based on the allegation of "attempt to influence the court".

Confiscations continue, increase in press cases

Zarakolu said that in the past year there was also an increase in press cases in Turkey and referred to the bans imposed on newspap ers such as "Birgun", "Gunluk Evrensel" and " Ulkede Ozgur Gundem". He added that under the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) and the Penal Code, a total of 530 court cases had been opened against the "Gundem" newspaper alone.

Citing examples of repression of authors in the country, Zarakolu said these were gradually widening to include even the translators of books. He explained that Ahmet Kahraman who authored the book "100 Famous Turks" had been forced to leave the country due to the insult charges and damage suits filed by former minister Mehmet Agar as well as the threats he received.

After the Committee Report was disclosed, the ceremony for the 2006 Freedom of Opinion and Expression Awards began.

BİA2 Advisor Mater receives award from Karatas

BİA2 Advisor and journalist Nadire Mater received the plaque of gratitude given to bianet in recognition of its "contr

Mater said bianet was a collective environment in the media and invited those working for bianet to the podium.

"We create bianet all together" she told the audience. "Other than the editors and employees, people and our friends from many parts of Turkey and the world, starting from the local media onwards, are working for this environment, contributing to it. There are many from bianet here. The award belongs to all of us".

Mater

said that in the field of freedom of expression she particularly wanted to mention the names of bianet Freedom of Expression Editor Erol Onderoglu and BİA Law Consultant Fikret Ilkiz.

Freedom of Expression Awards

Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC) Secretary General Turgay Olcayto gave the Freedom of Opinion and Expression award to the owner of Tekirdag Bookshop that has been open for 33 years.

Owner Sakir Tunali, representing bookshop owners who have continued their profession in honour despite serious economic and political difficulties, said there was no freedom of expression in Turkey while receiving the award.

Tunali said freedoms were not independent of the socioeconomic levels of societies and claimed that as the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government was "selling everything" there was nothing for them to do "but continue to express ourselves".

Sorun Publications founder and publisher Sirri Ozturk representing all publishers whose books were confiscated and who were put on trial, received his award from Writers Union of Turkey chairman Enver Ercan.

Making a speech after receiving his award, Ozturk said he had spent many years in prison and asked for the rights of those in prison not to be forgotten when defending freedoms.

Oran: Human rights demand not from the grassroots

Awards given to Prof. Dr. İbrahim Kaboglu ve Prof. Dr. Baskin Oran on behalf of authors on trial for their articles and books, were delivered by TYB chairman Tuzuner.

In his speech at the award ceremony,

Prof. Dr. Baskın Oran said contemporary societies in this day and age advanced towards democratic societies that recognised the sub identities of the people rather than travelling the route of congregations to nation-state societies.

Oran said that petty bourgeois intellectuals in Turkey, a country which had advanced to nation-state from a semi-feudal empire, introduced reforms from above and that demands from human rights did not come from grassroots. He added that it was because of this reason demands for democracy were being repressed.

Stressing the importance of the support they received in the period they were put on trial for the "Minority Rights and Cultural Rights Working Group Report", Oran noted that it was a social duty to support demands for democracy and said the TYB award was an important service for this reason.

Kaboglu: My own university stayed silent

Prof. Dr. Ibrahim Kaboglu, meanwhile, said in his own speech that while on trial for the Minority Rights Report, many circles in Turkey including even his own university preferred to remain silent and that he was advised by the university against appearing on television too much.

Kaboglu said that despite these, over 1250 lecturers and academics from Senegal to Japan had supported a petition campaign demanding Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to bring an end to the prosecution.

The awards ceremony ended with a cocktail. TGC Secretary General Turgay Olcayto, Turkish Engineers and Architects Chambers Union 2nd chairman Huseyin Yesil, Associa

Who received awards in the past?

Publisher Ayse Zarakolu and author Haluk Gerger were the first to receive an award from the TMY in the year 1995. In 1996 author Yasar Kemal and publisher Erdal Oz received the award. In 1998 the award was given to Mahir Gunsiray on behalf of 185 artisans, authors and intellectuals who undersigned the book titled "Feedom to Opinion".

Following these the award was given in the following order:

1999: Publisher Muzaffer İlhan Erdost, journalist-writer Ragıp Duran and bookshop owner

2000: Publisher Süleyman Ege, journalist-writer Nadire Mater and Salih Zeki Uluarslan who worked a bookshop for 50 years in Canakkale.

2001: Publisher Ahmet Onal, writer Mehmed Uzun and Zonguldak bookshop keeper of 60 years, Lutfu Alpant.

2002: Publisher Omer Laciner, poet-writer Enis Batur and Tarsus bookshop keeper of 60 years Selcuk Togo.

2003: Publisher Ozcan Sapan, author Fikret Ba

skaya and Ayvalık bookshop keeper Ahmet Yorulmaz.

2004: Publisher Omer Faruk, writer Meltem Arıkan and Ankara bookshop keeper Ahmet Tevfik Kuflu.

2005: Publisher Levent Erseven, writer Herkul Millas and Balıkesir bookshop keeper of 23 years Ismail Donmez

Prosecution of authors, publishers down but not out

Friday, June 16, 2006

 

ISTANBUL - Turkish Daily News

The Turkish Publishers Union's (TYB) Publication Freedom Committee released a report on Wednesday noting that despite a decrease in bans imposed on publications, fewer prosecutions of publishers and an increase in the number of not guilty verdicts, issues surrounding the right to publish still persist in Turkey.

The report was presented by committee chairman Ragıp Zarakolu, who

Zarakolu said what was very interesting about recent times was the fact that ideological groups, rather than the government, have denounced authors, journalists and publishers and that the number of trials resulting from such complaints has skyrocketed. He said the courts have handed down many guilty sentences as a result of such complaints.

He also said the judiciary's valuable time was being wasted with frivolous complaints made by such ideological groups on the grounds that authors, journalists and books were insulting to Turkey's founder, Atatürk, or the military or the republic.

Increasing number of media trials:

The report said the number of trials involving journalists had increased in the last year, noting that 530 cases involved the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and the Antiterrorism Law in the past two years, with 104 cases ending in a guilty verdict compared to only 22 not guilty.

It mentioned complaints filed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against journalists and authors for “violating his rights and freedoms.” “There were

The report said there was a huge increase in the number of charges brought under Article 301 of the TCK against authors and journalists, noting that there had also been a considerable increase in trials where defendants were accused of insulting Atatürk.

"In conclusion, the TCK, passed without being assessed in detail, poses serious potential to cause serious problems for freedom of expression and freedom of publication due to its confusing and vague definitions."

The report said definitions in the TCK could be interpreted differently by each judge and that this entails serious problems for the media and publishers. It claimed that calls for amending articles related to press and publication freedom were ignored and that the new Antiterrorism Law posed an even bigger threat to freedoms.

The report said in order to establish and develop freedom of expression and publication, not only Parliament but also the judiciary and the government had responsibilities to carry out.

Check out AOL.com today. Breaking news, video search, pictures, email and IM. All on demand. Always Free.

The report said there was a huge increase in the number of charges brought under Article 301 of the TCK against authors and journalists, noting that there had also been a considerable increase in trials where defendants were accused of insulting Atatürk.

"In conclusion, the TCK, passed without being assessed in detail, poses serious potential to cause serious problems for freedom of expression and freedom of publication due to its confusing and vague definitions."

The report said definitions in the TCK could be interpreted differently by each judge and that this entails serious problems for the media and publishers. It claimed that calls for amending articles related to press and publication freedom were ignored and that the new Antiterrorism Law posed an even bigger threat to freedoms.

The report said in order to establish and develop freedom of expression and publication, not only Parliament but also the judiciary and the government had responsibilities to carry out.

Check out AOL.com today. Breaking news, video search, pictures, email and IM. All on demand. Always Free.

The report said there was a huge increase in the number of charges brought under Article 301 of the TCK against authors and journalists, noting that there had also been a considerable increase in trials where defendants were accused of insulting Atatürk.

"In conclusion, the TCK, passed without being assessed in detail, poses serious potential to cause serious problems for freedom of expression and freedom of publication due to its confusing and vague definitions."

The report said definitions in the TCK could be interpreted differently by each judge and that this entails serious problems for the media and publishers. It claimed that calls for amending articles related to press and publication freedom were ignored and that the new Antiterrorism Law posed an even bigger threat to freedoms.

The report said in order to establish and develop freedom of expression and publication, not only Parliament but also the judiciary and the government had responsibilities to carry out.


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