Turkish court postpones verdict on ‘explicit’ Apollinaire book

Turkish court postpones verdict on ‘explicit’ Apollinaire book

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish court postpones verdict on ‘explicit’ Apollinaire book

Sel Publishing House owner İrfan Sancı was facing jail sentence for releasing one of Apollinaire’s books. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

An Istanbul court on Dec. 17 postponed the sentencing of a publisher and translator for releasing a book by surrealist French poet and writer Guillaume Apollinaire.

Sel Publishing House owner İrfan Sancı and translator İsmail Yerguz were facing six to 10 years in jail for releasing Apollinaire’s “The Exploits of Young Don Juan,” first published in France over 100 years ago, but the court postponed the jurisdiction for three years on the condition that the two do not commit the same offense again.

Previously, Sancı and Yerguz were acquitted from charges of the book’s “explicit nature” in a local court, but the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the acquittals and reopened the case.

The appeals court had stated that the book gave detailed accounts of “unnatural sexual relationships” with “no plot whatsoever,” adding that it therefore did not fall within the limits of freedom of speech.
Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, Sancı expressed his dissatisfaction with the ruling, despite its postponement.

“The imprisonment decision has just been frozen for now. I would like to highlight that I had already been acquitted in this case. I’m not happy with this decision of the court, which was trying to find a middle course because it didn’t want any more reactions,” he said.

Sancı also added that he would “not hold back” despite the ruling. “As a publisher, I’ll continue to commit this crime. [The ruling] will not change anything,” he said.

International writers and publishers associations had voiced their support for Sancı and Yerguz, most recently PEN International, the French Writers Association (SGDL), the French Publishing Union (SGDL) and the French Translators Union.