IPA condemns attacks on bookshops in Turkey

IPA condemns attacks on bookshops in Turkey

The International Publishers Association (IPA) has said it is "appalled" at recent attacks on newspaper offices and a bookshop in Turkey, and has called on the Turkish government to do more to take action to "stem the tide of assaults".

The group said the violence was politically motivated, and included the vandalising of newspaper offices in Istanbul, the burning of a bookshop in Kırşehir, and threats made against journalists and booksellers, with some being injured.

Metin Celal Zeynioglu, president of the Turkish Publishers Association, said: "These fanatic attacks against institutions that are our tools to access information and culture can in no way be legitimised. These events are clear signs of the heavy price we are paying for the increasing polarisation in our political life. To protect the constitutional rights and the freedom to publish of both the bookseller in Kırşehir and the Hurriyet newspaper in Istanbul is a duty of the state."

IPA Secretary General José Borghino said: "These attacks on people and the wilful destruction of property are to be categorically condemned. But what is worse is that these incidents are part of a pattern of intimidation, menace and assault clearly aimed at sections of the media and civil society in Turkey that disagree with the ruling party. The perpetrators of the violent actions of the past few days should be identified and charged. But the authorities prefer to turn a blind eye."

Ola Wallin, the chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee, called on the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to "unequivocally denounce" thesmob attacks and take immediate action to stem the "tide of assaults against free, civil society in Turkey."

Violence between Turkish forces and the militant Kurdish PKK group has increased in recent weeks, reported the BBC.

Crowds have attacked offices belonging to Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP party, and pro-government protesters attacked the offices of the Hurriyet newspaper in Istanbul on Sunday 6th September.

Fourteen police officers were also killed in a suspected PKK bomb attack earlier this week.