Bibliophobic Diyarbakır prison wardens issue book ban
DİYARBAKIR (DİHA) – In Turkey, where rights abuses never seem to leave the agenda, a book ban at a prison is the latest example of arbitrary procedures.
Administration at Diyarbakır D-Type prison have forbidden the entry of two books related to the Kurdish issue into the prison.
One is a book of interviews and photographs with PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) guerrillas in Kandil, called "Grandma, I Wasn't Really in Diyarbakır." The second is a compilation of interviews with PKK guerrillas about the peace and resolution process called "The Silent Speak: Wounded Clover."
Administrators are calling the two books "propaganda for an illegal organization" and "praising crime and criminals" and have refused to allow the prisoners to receive them. The Judiciary of Enforcement, a body that sees prisoners' requests,recently rejected prisoners' application to have the book ban lifted.
Tuğçe Tatari, author of one of the forbidden books ("Grandma, I Wasn't Really in Diyarbakır") noted that she wrote the book through meetings and conversations with PKK members who were themselves in prison.
"How exactly can a book I wrote about the things I learned from them be propaganda aimed at them?" asked Tatari, who criticized the "silly, backwards measure." She called the arbitrary measure a sign of "bibliophobia."
Journalist Faruk Balıkçı, one of the editors of "The Silent Speak: Wounded Clover" along with RuhiKaradağ, noted that the decision was an indicator of the government's position on the peace and resolution process for the Kurdish issue.
"To have [negotiations] meetings on the one hand, and on the other hand to show this kind of reaction to a book, is quite meaningless and something we have trouble understanding," said Balıkçı. "This kind of book ban seems to hint that there's a new mindset, and that we're entering a new period."
He also noted that the book was officially registered by the Ministry of Culture and that it was contradictory for a different institution of the state to ban it.