Turkish court again bans book on Kurdish history after 17 years

A Turkish court has ruled to ban a book titled “Kurdistan Tarihi” (The History of Kurdistan), whose first edition was confiscated by the State Security Court (DGM) in 2001 and pulled off the shelves.

“The History of Kurdistan,” a Soviet academic volume published in Turkish by Avesta Publishing, was initially banned by the Ayvalık Penal Court of Peace and subsequently banned in 2001 by the İstanbul DGM. The publishing house was also given a fine and sentence by the same court. However, thanks to legal challenges, the ban was overturned.

Edited by M.S. Lazarev and Ş.X. Mıhoyan and translated from Russian into Turkish by İbrahim Kale, the first edition of “Kurdistan Tarihi” was published in Turkey in 2001.

“We’re talking about a book that has been on the shelves for about 20 years. We received no notification of any investigation. We learnt that the book had been banned from two police who came here,” Avesta Publishing owner Abdullah Keskin said.

“The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office has asked us for information on the ban. Why does it want that information? There is information they are requesting from us rather than the prosecutors or the courts, as if they are saying, ‘We don’t know why we banned it, either’.”

Keskin said he imagined the book had been found at the home of a suspect in a police investigation and had been arbitrarily banned. “I’m sure they haven’t read it,” he said.

Bianet reported that the prosecutor’s office has also demanded information regarding other books published by Avesta. Reminding that nine books published by Avesta were previously banned, Keskin said all of the banned and confiscated books were Ph.D. theses.

The books previously banned and confiscated by the court are: Kan, İnançlar ve Oy Pusulaları (Blood, Beliefs and Voting Papers), Cesur Adamların Ülkesine Yolculuk (Journey to the Country of Brave Men), Tasavvur mu Gerçek mi? (Is it a Vision or Reality?), Mağdur Diasporadan Sınırötesi Vatandaşlığa mı? (From the Victim Diaspora to Transboundary Citizenship?), Ülkemde Bir Yabancı (A Foreigner in My Country), Kürdistan Bayrağının Altında ve Irak’ta Soykırım (Genocide under the Flag of Kurdistan and in Iraq), Mahabad Kürt Cumhuriyeti Büyük Güçlerin Politikasında Kürtler 1941-1947 (Mahabad Kurdish Republic: Kurds in the Politics of the Great Powers, 1941-1947), Çaldıran Savaşı’nda Osmanlılar, Safeviler ve Kürtler (Ottomans, Safavids and Kurds in Battle of Chaldiran) and Tanrı ve Şeyh Adi Kusursuzdur: Yezidi Tarihinden Kutsal Şiirler ve Dinsel Anlatılar (God and the Sheikh are Perfect: Holy Poems and Religious Narratives from Yazidi History).

The Avesta Publishing House has been publishing Kurdish books in Turkey for 23 years, with more than 600 Turkish-Kurdish books to its credit.

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