Publisher, writer and human rights activist Ragip Zarakolu, who was arrested in an October raid in Istanbul and is being held in a high security prison, has been granted the 2012 Freedom Award by the Info-Turk Foundation:

Info-Türk Foundation’s 2012 Freedom Award Granted to Ragip Zarakolu

Brussels, December 28, 2011

As a non-government organization contributing for over 38 years to the struggle for human rights and freedoms in Turkey, Info-Türk Foundation has decided to grant its 2012 Freedom Award to author, journalist, publisher and human rights activist Ragip Zarakolu* who is currently under arrest at the high security prison type-F  in Kocaeli.

Starting to write and to contribute to intellectual life in 1968, Zarakolu is carrying on these activities for 43 years without giving any concession to political powers. Today’s power which gives lessons of democracy to Arab countries attempts to make Zarakolu pay the price of this determination by throwing him at 63 years old and despite his serious health problems to a high security prison under ridiculous pretexts.

Ragip Zarakolu had already been imprisoned after the 1971 Coup. When released, together with his wife Ayse Nur Zarakolu, he opened a new horizon in the books world by founding Belge International Publishing House.

Ragip and Ayse did not only demolished the taboo of Armenian Genocide, but also made an undeniable contribution to the struggle for the democratization in Turkey by publishing hundreds of books about the injustice and discrimination of which the Kurdish people and Anatolia’s all national and religious minorities have suffered for centuries.

Ragip Zarakolu also took part among the founders of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD). He is currently the chairman of the Committee to Publish of the Publishers’ Union of Turkey (TYB) and the representative in Turkey of the Committee to Publish of the International Publishers’ Association (IPA).

Since 2005 Zarakolu has been granted “Freedom of Expression Award” by the Norwegian Writers’ Union together with the Norwegian Ministry of Culture, “Thought and Freedom of Expression Award” by the Publishers’ Union of Turkey, “Press Freedom” award by the Journalists’ Association of Turkey and recently  “Hagop Megapart Medal of Honor” by the Armenian National Library for his contribution to the recognition of Armenian history, culture and literature in Turkey.

For years Zarakolu has been invited by many countries to meetings on human rights and he participated as speaker to two conferences on freedom of thought and militarism in Turkey, organized in Brussels by Info-Türk Foundation, Assyrian Associations of Belgium, Association of Democrat Armenians in Belgium and the Kurdish Institute of Brussels.

Info-Türk Foundation’s 2012 Freedom Award will be forwarded to Ragip Zarakolu by his relatives at the type-F prison in Kocaeli. The award certificate will be given to him personally at a ceremony in Brussels after his release from prison.

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*) All informations on Ragıp Zarakolu’s arrest and his biography: