Saturday, April 21, 2007


Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
Press Statement

17 April 2007

Ragip Zarakoglu and Freedom of Expression in Turkey

We are profoundly concerned about the intolerable restrictions on the press in Turkey which have worsened considerably under the impact of the new anti-terrorism law; in particular an effective ban on the reporting of taboo subjects such as the Armenian Genocide, the Kurdish question and the treatment of minorities. Newspapers are being closed, editors arrested and a blacklist of awkward voices is preventing journalists with long and distinguished records from working in Turkey today. An atmosphere of coercion and intimidation of journalists is prevailing in the country and we need only refer to the assassination on 19 January of Hrant Dink, whose circumstances still await a full investigation.

In this respect, we wish to draw your attention to the plight of Ragip Zarakoglu, writer and owner of Belge Publishing House, one such victim of the new repression: he has been writing for 16 years for the newspaper Ozgur Gundem (Free Agenda) on human and minority rights, but finds himself today unable to express his views in print freely under the new restrictions.

This lamentable situation is surely not what should be expected of a country that is allegedly attempting to democratise itself and abide by European and international conventions pertaining to human rights and rights of free expression and association.

We call on the British Government and the EU to urgently take this matter up with the Turkish authorities during the EU accession process and to insist that the Turkish authorities comply fully with European standards and conventions ratified by Turkey.

Peace in Kurdistan Campaign
For information contact:
Tel 020 7586 5892

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