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IPA urges European Union to support independent publishers in Turkey

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

IPA urges EU to support independent publishers in Turkey

IPA recently wrote to EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn to urge him to support independent publishing in Turkey, including those publishers tackling sensitive issues and whose economic survival is at stake because of long, time-consuming and expensive court hearings. In particular, IPA called for the release from prison of publisher Mehmet Ali Varis, and for his acquittal in appeal, as well as those of publishers Fatih Tas (Aram publishing) and Ragýp Zarakolu (Belge publishing), who were condemned to suspended prison sentences (turned into fines) under Article 301 TPC ("Insulting the State") on 5 January 2009 and 17 June 2008 respectively. Publisher Mehmet Ali Varis has been serving a one-year prison sentence since 24 November 2008. He is also facing other trials as the publisher of the former Tohum publishing house and therefore risks the imposition of a longer prison sentence.

IPA also drew the Commissioner's attention to the new cases brought against "The Daughters of Allah" by Nedim Gürsel (Dogan publishing) and "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins (Kuzey publishing) and called for further amendments to Turkish legislation for it to meet international standards, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

For further information on the Tas case, see:

For further information on the Zarakolu case, see:

For further information on the Kuzey publishing case, see:

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