Law suits on over 100 books filed in Turkey in 2008-2011

July 1, 2011 - 14:35 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net - Law suits surrounding more than 100 books were filed
in Turkey between 2008 and 2011, while around 30 writers and
translators went to court during the first half of this year,
according to reports published by the Turkish Publishers Association.

Comic magazines and websites have also been sued in court, some for
`hurting people's moral feelings,' and others in connection with
anti-terror laws.

`I cannot believe what I am going through, but I am determined to keep
treading on this path insistently. Fancy a mindset, such that it
brought even the Appolinare, a milestone of world literature, before
the court,' İrfan Sancı, owner of Sel Publishing House, said, Hürriyet
Daily News reported.

A lawsuit was filed against Sancı when his publishing house began
issuing copies of `The Exploits of a Young Don Juan' by the 20th
century French literary figure Appolinare. Sancı, however, continued
publishing books under the title `the Erotic Series,' which only
intensified the legal pressure on him, as he was forced to face one
trial after another.

`I sat before court in the morning and received an award in the
evening. I was punished by my country and I was granted an award from
abroad. That is a great irony,' said Sancı, who received the Freedom
to Publish Prize Special Award from the Geneva-based International
Publishing Association, or IPA, last November.

`I could not believe my ears when the prosecutor asked me whether I
read these books with my family; I could not muster up any response,'
he added.

Regarding the freedom of thought and expression, the year 2011 has
turned out to be even grimmer than 1980 when the military delivered
Turkey's infamous coup d'état, according to Metin Celal, the president
of the Turkish Publishers Association.

`Writers and translators are being sued, journalists are being jailed,
statues are being demolished... As if all this was not enough,
world-renowned director Emir Kusturica was invited to the Antalya Film
Festival as a member of the jury, [only to be] protested against. Our
Nobel laureate author Orhan Pamuk was almost sentenced to paying
indemnities to each Turkish citizen [just] because he expressed his
thoughts. Another Nobel laureate writer, Naipul, was invited to an
organization in Istanbul and made into a pariah on the grounds that he
insulted Islam,' Celal told Hürriyet Daily News in a phone interview.