14 October 2006

Petition on behalf of Turkish Writers

Dear Friends,

We received the message and petition below from Seven Stories Press regarding free expression in Turkey. Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to add your name to this effort. Thank you.


Anna Kushner, Freedom to Write Program Coordinator, Pen International (anna@pen.org)


Dear friend,

The recent government threats to a publisher, editors and a translator in Turkey have prompted the following statement to be circulated in these individuals' defense. It is being circulated widely in Turkey and internationally to concerned publishers and some writers. Please indicate via reply whether you would like your name and affiliation added to this list, which will then be released in the coming weeks.

Best regards,
Dan Simon, Publisher
Seven Stories Press

Publishers have a responsibility to defend the free flow of information, opinion as well as works of the imagination. And while standards for free speech in general and for books in particular may differ from country to country around the world, there are certain standards which must be held above those of any particular nation, including that no individual may be criminally prosecuted for the performance of his or her duties as a publisher.

As reported on Tuesday, July 4, 2006, Turkey's Chief Public Prosecution Office has decided to indict the Turkish publisher of "Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media" by Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky. Named in the indictment are the owner of the Aram Publishing House, Fatih Tas, together with the editors Omer Faruk Kurhan and Lutfi Taylan Tosun, and the book's translator , Ender Badoglio. The indictment claims that certain extracts from the book fuel hatred and discrimination. Those charged could face up to 6 years in prison if found guilty. Tas was acquitted on similar charges related to a prior Chomsky text in 2002. The new Turkish Criminal Law (TCL) has become the sword of Democles over many authors and publishers since June 2005, and is the same law by which a journalist from Agos gazette, Hrant Dink, and the writer Orhan Pamuk were recently prosecuted. Charges against Pamuk were dropped in the light of international protest.

We the following publishers and concerned citizens wish to stand on record in solidarity with our colleagues in Turkey. We wish to remind the Turkish government that by criminalizing individuals at a Turkish publisher they are hurting the dignity and reputation of Turkish citizens everywhere. And we wish to demand that the criminal complaint against Fatih Tas, Omer Faruk Kurhan, Lutfi Taylan Tosun and Ender Badoglio be withdrawn.


Names and affiliations