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Turkish editor, translator face prison sentences for publishing Apollinaire book

A man contemplates the bust of French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) next to the Archa Theatre in Prague, 29 March 2013.
A man contemplates the bust of French poet Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) next to the Archa Theatre in Prague, 29 March 2013.

Photo/Vit Simanek (CTK via AP Images)

Several writers, publishers and translators from French publishing industry unions - the Société des Gens de Lettres de France (SGDL), the Syndicat National de L'édition (SNE) and the Association des Traducteurs Littéraires de France (ATLF) respectively - urged for the acquittal of Sel Publishing House editor-in-chief Irfan Sancı and translator İsmail Yerguz, who are facing prison sentences for publishing Guillaume Apollinaire's “The Exploits of a Young Don Juan” in Turkey.

The aforementioned unions released a statement noting that Guillaume Apollinaire's works are recognized worldwide and a part of the universal heritage of literature.

“Any ruling against the publication of this work will violate the main pillars of democracy, as well as all human rights treaties that Turkey is a part of,” the statement said.

“Whatever the ruling will be, it will be the Turkish readers who will be blocked from this work. Not only a manifestation of writer's personality, the book is a witness of its era and beyond moral criteria.”

The statement also added that France was a country that found its roots in freedom of expression and cultural diversity and therefore it must condemn efforts to censor.

What happened?

Turkey's Supreme Court Court of Appeals 14th Penal Chamber overthrew an acquittal ruling by the Istanbul 2nd Assize Court regarding an “obscenity” complaint on the publishing of “The Exploits of a Young Don Juan”.

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