“We are comming where hundred thousands books were burnt up”
Here we are today, attending one of the most prominent book fairs in the world. And yet we come from a country where hundreds of thousands of books had been burnt.
What I am about to tell you might sound familiar from the Nazi era, but it is currently happening in present-day Turkey, a country held as a hostage by the Erdogan regime.
Hundreds of thousands of books had been banned in one night, through lists published by the Erdogan regime. People who had these books in their possession were to be tried as terrorists.
People secretly started to throw away the books they had in their houses.
They found fingerprints of Arzu Akçakaya, a history teacher, on a book found in a dumpster. She was arrested and sent to prison along with her ten months old daughter.
Unprecedented in history, this incident happened in Turkey, in 2016.
Like Arzu Akçakaya, thousands got arrested on terror charges because of the books they read.
Some of the Turkish authors whose works are present today in this fair have been imprisoned for years. Ahmet Altan, Nazli Ilicak and many other prominent writers.
In the last three years, figures for books exterminated by the government reach to millions. Solely the Ministry of Education exterminated 301 thousand books according to its figures.
People now can cast away the prohibited books only after they cleaned the fingerprints on them, or they just burn the books.
We are journalists in exile who could find a migrant boat and escape the Erdogan regime. But more than 200 of our journalist and writer colleagues are in prison.
Six years, ten years, twenty years… some of them are even sentenced to life imprisonment.
“We haven’t forgotten you… deeply miss you”
Here from the Frankfurt book fair, we want to shout out that our hearts are with them.
“We haven’t forgotten you. In your absence, Turkey has become a war-generating country. We terribly need you. We deeply miss you.”
We call on every free soul on earth to stand in solidarity with the captive journalists and writers in Turkey.