The pressures exerted by Turkey’s authorities against the Kurdish language and Kurdish history continue in various ways, including the banning of books. Kurdish publishers have been fined and even imprisoned.
According to a report by the Kurdish Language and Culture Network in cooperation with the Kurdish International Writers Union, within the past four years, 109 books – 31 of which were in Kurdish – released by Kurdish publishing houses were banned. The publishing houses whose books received the most bans were Aram Publishers, followed by Avesta Publishers. Avesta stated that some of the banned books included international doctoral dissertations (PhD’s). The report will be sent to various European Union institutions, including PEN International.
The report reveals that by prohibiting the books and charging the publishers, Turkey does not comply with the international conventions it signed and it does not fulfil its obligations. According to the report, Sitan Publishing Editor-in-Chief Kahir Bateyi was fined 33,750 Turkish lira for a book about the Roboski massacre. In addition to that, the author of the book was also sentenced to a prison term of more than three years.
Köroğlu Karaaslan, Editor-in-Chief of Doz Publishing, was fined a total of 40,000 Turkish lira. J and J Publications Editor-in-Chief Azad Zal described the experiences his publishing house faced: “They took away all of our books with pictures of Kurdish fighters in it or the ones that have the word ‘Kurdistan’ mentioned in them”.