The International Publishers Association (IPA) has condemned the closure of yet another Turkish publishing house, Evrensel Basım Yayın (Evrensel Publishing House).
The publisher is the 30th in the country to be closed by Ankara’s state of emergency power, according to the IPA.
The closure happened on at the end of last month, when the Turkish government shut down two news agencies and 10 newspapers, as well as three periodicals published by Doğa Basın Yayın, with which Evrensel Publishing House is affiliated. The three periodicals are arts magazine Evrensel Kültür, political journal Özgürlük Dünyası and Kurdish-Turkish culture magazine Tîroj.
Evrensel Basım Yayın was founded in 1988 and publishes, including fiction, non-fiction, children’s and young adult literature. It is a member of the Turkish Publishers Association, which is a member of the IPA.
Evrensel editor and foreign rights manager Fulya Alikoç told the IPA that government officials arrived at the publisher’s offices on 30th October and sealed them off. The company’s bank accounts and assets were then frozen.
“The activity of our publishing house is de facto stopped, arbitrarily and unlawfully,” she said. “We stand against the State of Emergency and its antidemocratic practices. We want our freedom of thought and expression to be recognized. A publisher’s job is to spread thoughts and dreams; we want to do our job without oppression, threat or danger.”
In response, IPA president Richard Charkin said: “Since the failed coup attempt on 15th July, President Erdogan has systematically brought his country’s media industries to its knees. There is of course no excusing the attempt to seize power in a violent coup, but Mr Erdogan’s subsequent purge has now extended to legitimate publishers and businesses with no links whatsoever to the coup plotters.
“This latest action is another egregious and illegal violation of basic human rights that does Turkey a profound disservice by leaving even more people unemployed and further narrowing the country’s once rich publishing landscape.”
The IPA said the closure comes on the heels of a number of authoritarian actions, including the detention of writers and authors such as Aslı Erdoğan and Necmiye Alpay.