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Turkish Publisher Ragip Zarakolu Arrested

Belge Publishing House director Ragip Zarakolu was arrested on October 28th. Zarakolu, a member of the Turkish PEN Center, has been targeted by the Turkish government for his refusal to yield to their censorship laws.

His legal battles began when he launched the publishing house in 1977 with his wife, Ayse Nur. They published books by political prisoners and nonfiction titles about the Armenian genocide. Larry Siems, director of the Freedom to Write program at the PEN American Center, declared the organization’s mounting concern over “a disturbing acceleration of violations of the rights of Turkish and Kurdish activists, writers, and scholars.”

Here’s more from the release: “Turkish authorities have arrested up to 1,000 scholars, writers, publishers, and rights advocates during a two-year crackdown targeting activists who focus on Kurdish issues. This list of those arrested Friday also includes Büşra Ersanlı, a constitutional law expert and a member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Zarakolu’s son, Deniz Zarakolu, who is an editor at Belge Publishing House and a Ph.D. student at Bilgi University, was arrested on October 4. It is unclear whether charges have been filed against any of those arrested in Friday’s roundup.”

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