Monday, 23 January 2012

Turkish Translators for Human Rights

ÇEVBİR, the Turkish Association of Literary Translators, recently issued a press release about breaches of human rights in Turkey, which you can read on the CEATL website. Artists and intellectuals, academics, people working for NGOs, and citizens with a different religious or sexual orientation are now considered potential criminals there, with a rising number of arrests of writers and journalists. There is some discussion over the number of journalists in Turkish prisons, citings varying up to 68 as of December 2011. A total of 38 were arrested on one day in that month.

English PEN also writes: "There is widespread concern about the growing number of cases being brought against publishers and translators in Turkey who are threatened with imprisonment for publishing books which have been published freely elsewhere." The publishers and translators of books by William Burroughs and Chuck Palahniuk are all facing or under trial for obscenity - read more on the English PEN site. The publisher Ragip Zarakolu releases "controversial books from Armenian, Greek and Kurdish authors in Turkish editions, including books documenting the Armenian genocide" and was arrested in October under anti-terrorism laws.

You can take action by appealing to the ministers in charge, publicising the cases or perhaps following ÇEVBİR's example: "We therefore adopt the smile that journalist Zeynep Kuray wore as she went to prison as the best response to the climate of fear and repression that is being fomented."

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