A Turkish court has decided to seek an Interpol Red Notice for Ragıp Zarakolu, a publisher, writer, and free speech activist, as well as his extradition to Turkey on terrorism charges, the Evrensel daily reported on Wednesday.
Zarakolu, the founder of the Belge Publishing House in Turkey, has been living in Sweden since 2013.
In 2011, a case was launched against the publisher on charges of aiding and abetting a terrorist organization due to a speech he made at the Politics Academy of the now-defunct pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). He was arrested in October 2011 and released pending trial in April 2012.
The decision for an Interpol Red Notice and extradition request was made by a high criminal court in İstanbul six years after Zarakolu’s release from prison, Evrensel reported.
In a letter sent to the daily, Zarakolu said the Turkish court’s extradition request was an attempt to harass him.
“It is obvious that my continued defense of human rights, minority rights, free speech, and peace as well as expressing my views and my articles have disturbed some. They can be disturbed. I will move forward,” the publisher said in his letter.
He also called on the public to wage a campaign for the cancellation of the court’s decision before the next hearing on Sept. 28.
Zarakolu is a well-known political activist who has been fighting for freedom of expression in Turkey for over 30 years, publishing books on issues such as minority and human rights. He was given the NOVIB/PEN Free Expression Award in 2003. (turkishminute.com)