October 31, 2011

Publisher, Human Rights Activist Ragip Zarakolu Arrested


ISTANBUL, Turkey—Turkish police have arrested Ragip Zarakolu, a well-known human rights activist and director of the Belge Publishing House, and chair of the Publishers Association “Freedom to Publish” Committee of Turkey.

Zarakolu was taken into custody on Oct. 28, during a large-scale manhunt in Istanbul against Kurdish and human rights activists.

His son, Deniz Zarakolu, the editor of the Belge Publishing House, was arrested on Oct. 4.

Belge has published numerous books on the oppression of the national minorities in Turkey and the Armenian Genocide.

Counter-terrorism units launched simultaneous operations against suspected KCK members early on Friday and detained 41 people. Police also raided various offices of the BDP, the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, in Istanbul, including the BDP Istanbul Politics Academy and several BDP branches.

BDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas strongly criticized the new wave of detentions on Friday. “We will not be able to talk about a healthy constitution-making process if we go ahead like this. We will have no party member who can join efforts for [drafting] a new constitution,” he said.