Arrested publisher gets culture minister’s praise
‘Of course, I do not know the reason for the arrest warrant. Frankly, I would like to learn because I never heard about his involvement with any act of violence until now,’ Culture and Tourism Minister Günay says on Ragıp Zarakolu’s arrest.AA photo
Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay has praised a prominent publisher who was arrested Tuesday for alleged links to an outlawed organization.
“[Zarakolu] is a valuable publisher and writer,” Günay told reporters late Tuesday when asked about his reaction to the arrest of Ragıp Zarakolu.
Zarakolu, along with Professor Büşra Ersanlı and 42 other suspects, was arrested in Istanbul on Tuesday for his alleged involvement with the outlawed Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“I have known him since my school years. Of course, I do not know the reason for the arrest warrant. Frankly, I would like to learn because I never heard about his involvement with any act of violence until now,” Günay said.
While testifying in court Tuesday, Zarakolu said all the accusations directed against him concerned his intellectual activities.
“My actions are aimed at presenting my own contributions to find a solution for a problem that has been going on for years. To this effect, I am also invited this evening to an international meeting that will take place with the culture and tourism minister as host,” Zarakolu said.
The prosecutor questioned Zarakolu, who has been arrested numerous times before, about his participation in the Politics Academy of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) on June 13, 2010, in Istanbul’s Ümraniye district. The BDP is primarily focused on the Kurdish issue.
Zarakolu is the head of the Turkish Publishers’ Union’s Committee for the Freedom of Publishing, as well as the recipient of numerous prestigious awards pertaining to the freedom of expression.
“These documents include various book drafts. My activities that are the subject of the accusations are entirely intellectual activities,” Zarakolu said about the documents that were seized from his flat by law enforcement officials.
“A worthy publisher and writer. What are the allegations about this friend of ours? As the public, we also have the right to know,” Günay said.
Meanwhile, Gürsel Tekin, deputy leader of the main opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP), also denounced Zarakolu’s arrest yesterday while responding to a journalist’s question in Ankara.
“We do not know up to where such unlawful conduct will reach nor whom it is going to strike tomorrow,” Tekin said. “CHP organizations had objected to it when intellectuals were rounded up within the scope of the Ergenekon trials. Many were unable to comprehend the situation, but now I hope they will. The problem has found them, too.”