2010 IPA FTP Prize Special Award

Irfan Sancı

On the occasion of the 29th Istanbul Book Fair, the "2010 IPA Freedom to Publish Prize – Special Award" was given to Turkish publisher Irfan Sancı (Sel Yayıncılık) by Bjørn Smith-Simonsen, Chair of IPA's Freedom to Publish Committee (FTPC).

Sel owner Irfan Sancı (Right) & Chair of IPA's FTPC Bjørn Smith-Simonsen who declared: "There is political censorship in the air!"Sel owner Irfan Sancı (Right) & Chair of IPA's FTPC Bjørn Smith-Simonsen who declared: “There is political censorship in the air!”

The very day of his award, an Istanbul court, ignoring a February decision of the European Court of Human Rights condemning Turkey for banning another book by Apollinaire, decided to keep suing him for publishing a translation of Apollinaire's Don Juan. He faces up to 9 years in prison. The next hearing is due on 7 December 2010. IPA calls for his acquittal.

Upon receiving the Special Award, Irfan Sancı declared: "The irony is in the morning I am sued in a Turkish court, and, in the afternoon, I receive an international Award! This is quite unique!".

The owner of Sel publishing, Irfan Sanci, has been sued under Article 226 of the Turkishpenal code (TPC; obscenity) for having published the following books: Ben Mila's TheFairy's Pendulum; Guillaume Apollinaire's Adventures of the Young Don Juan;and Letters of a Learned and Well-mannered French Bourgeois Lady by P.V., facing upto 9 years in jail.In May 2010, despite an experts' report from the Galatasaray and BahcesehirUniversities concluding that the books were works of literature, an Istanbul court decidedto send the three books to the Prime Ministerial Board for the Protection of Children fromHarmful Publications for review, deciding whether they constitute literature orobscenity.This is a first for this Board established in 1927 and can be assessed as apotential political censorship tool. The hardships encountered by Sel publishing are allthe more surprising that Turkey was only recently condemned in February 2010 by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for violating Article 10 of the EuropeanConvention on Human Rights (Freedom of Expression) for having banned andcondemned under Art. 226 TPC another book by Guillaume Apollinaire: ElevenThousand Rods published by Rahmi Akdas in 1999. On that occasion, the ECHR ruledthat censorship of this book "hindered public access to a work belonging to the Europeanliterary heritage.

The owner of Sel publishing, Irfan Sancı, has been sued for months under Article 226 of the Turkish penal code (TPC; obscenity) for having published the following books: Ben Mila's The Fairy's Pendulum; Guillaume Apollinaire's Adventures of the Young Don Juan; and Letters of a Learned and Well-mannered French Bourgeois Lady by P.V., facing up to 9 years in jail.

In May 2010, despite an experts' report from the Galatasaray and Bahcesehir Universities concluding that the books were works of literature, an Istanbul court decided to send the three books to the Prime Ministerial Board for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications for review, deciding whether they constitute literature or obscenity. This was a first for this Board established in 1927 and can be assessed as a potential political censorship tool. The hardships encountered by Sel publishing are all the more surprising that Turkey was only recently condemned in February 2010 by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for violating Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of Expression) for having banned and condemned under Art. 226 TPC another book by Guillaume Apollinaire: Eleven Thousand Rods published by publisher Rahmi Akdas in 1999. On that occasion, the ECHR ruled that censorship of this book "hindered public access to a work belonging to the European literary heritage.

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