Author attacked at Istanbul Book Fair

ISTANBUL - A group of around 10 people attacked political non-fiction author Sabahattin Önkibar at the Istanbul Book Fair on Saturday, injuring several publishing house representatives.

Önkibar, who published a book on opposition National Movement Party leader Devlet Bahçeli and his followers in January this year, said that the attackers were “clearly organised partisans of Bahçeli”.

A Turkish court banned the book the same month for “going beyond the bounds of criticism”, and shortly afterwards the publisher’s building was attacked by unknown men in ski masks.

Önkibar, who writes a column for left-nationalist daily Aydınlık and whose latest book is on Good Party leader Meral Akşener, was unrepentant.

“We are facing a mindset that cannot even tolerate a book,” he said. “This is the point Turkey has come to, but we are not going to bow to it. We will stubbornly struggle against it.”

The incident comes in the wake of a similar attack on liberal theologian İhsan Eliaçık at the Kayseri Book Fair last month.

There was more commotion later in the day, with the arrest of 6 anarchists who were distributing their newspaper at the fair.