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Three employees of Christian publishing house killed following protests and threats by nationalists

(IPA/IFEX) - The following is an IPA press release:

IPA condemns assassination of Turkish publishers and presses for thorough investigation to end escalation of brutal attacks on freedom of expression

Geneva, 19 April 2007 - The International Publishers Association (IPA) condemns the killing yesterday of three employees of the Zirve publishing house in the South-Eastern town of Malatya, Turkey. [According to "Turkish Daily News", one of the victims, Necati Aydin, was the director of the publishing house.]

According to media reports, the Zirve publishing house prints Bibles and Christian literature, and had been the target of threats and a demonstration by nationalists accusing it of proselytising. It was also reported that the victims' throats had been cut and that police had detained six people in connection with the killings on Wednesday 18 April 2007.

"The murder of the employees of the Zirve publishing house is not only a tragedy in itself. It is also an attack on freedom to publish. This attack follows the murder earlier this year on 19 January of Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian editor, by an ultra-nationalist. Again, the murderers want to send a powerful message of fear. It is important that all publishers and writers, all media and all democratic forces stand together in defence of the basic principles of democracy and freedom", said Ana Maria Cabanellas, IPA President.

"The Turkish authorities must lead a thorough investigation. We need to know who killed the employees of the Zirve publishing house, and who ordered the attack. There seems to be an escalation of the brutal attacks on freedom of expression in Turkey. The spiral of death must come to an end", also declared IPA Freedom to Publish Committee Chair Bjørn Smith-Simonsen.

IPA, established in Paris in 1896, represents the publishing industry worldwide through 78 national, regional and specialised publishers associations in 66 countries. IPA is an accredited Non-Governmental Organisation enjoying consultative status to the United Nations. IPA seeks to promote and defend the fundamental freedoms to publish, to read and to write, defending the rights of authors and publishers to create and distribute intellectual works in complete freedom.

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