European publishers appeal for release of Turkish novelist Erdoğan

European publishers appeal for release of Turkish novelist Erdoğan

The bodies representing European publishers and booksellers have called for the immediate release of eminent Turkish novelist and human rights activist Aslı Erdoğan and linguist Necmiye Alpay after they were rearrested on Wednesday (23 November), and charged with 'membership of a terrorist organisation'.

The Federation of European Publishers (FEP) with the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF) have expressed deep concern about the arrests and called for both women to be immediately released unconditionally, along with other detainees held in Turkey after "exercising their fundamental human right of freedom of expression".

The organisations, including the International Publishers Association, also called for the European Union (EU) to do more to help the writers.  

 “The FEP and its partners further urge the EU institutions to take a robust stance on the matter by insisting that the Turkish government free all prisoners of conscience,” a spokesperson said. “(We) firmly restate the fundamental importance of freedom of expression as the bedrock of democratic societies.”

The publishers said freedom of expression was a “non-negotiable value”.

There has been a crackdown on freedom of expression recently in Turkey, with the government closing 29 publishing houses in August. The presses were closed under the 'decree on necessary measures under the state of emergency and regulations regarding some institutions', published on 27th July 2016. All the publishers’ goods, assets, rights and documents have been transferred to the Turksh treasury, which will not be liable for any monies owed by these publishing houses.

Shortly afterwards global publishing chiefs condemned the closures, including Markus Dohle of Penguin Random House, Carolyn Reidy of Simon & Schuster and Arnaud Nourry of Hachette Livre.