Turkey issues red notice for publisher and human rights activist

A Turkish court has issued red notice for publisher and human rights activist Ragıp Zarakolu, who is charged with aiding and abetting terrorism over a 2011 speech, left-wing Evrensel newspaper reported on Wednesday. 

Zarakolu, director of Belge Publishing House, was arrested in 2011 for a public speech on the Kurdish issue in Istanbul at the political academy of the  Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and was released following seven-months in prison.

Zarakolu and his publishing house have been known for publishing controversial books by Armenian, Greek and Kurdish authors in Turkish editions, which have been subject to publishing restrictions in various occasions.

His detainment created an outcry in the international literary community at the time with freedom of speech organisations campaigning for his release. Bjørn Smith-Simonsen, then chair of the International Publishers Association's freedom to publish committee, called Zarakolu "the pride of publishing" and "the limelight of freedom to publish in Turkey.”

Zarakolu, who has been living in Switzerland since 2013, called Turkey’s arrest warrant “harassment.”

“Apparently, some were disturbed as I have continued to advocate human rights, minority rights, and the freedom of speech, supported peace, and expressed my opinions,” Evrensel quoted Zarakolu as saying.