Since 1995, the Turkish Publishers Association (TPA) has worked to promote the freedom to publish both in Turkey and worldwide. As part of this work the TPA presents the annual “Freedom of Thought and Expression Awards” with an author, a publisher and an independent bookstore being recognised every year.
The 2020 Freedom of Thought and Expression Awards were held as an online ceremony on Thursday, January 21, 2021. The 2020 awards went to the publishing house Mikado Publications, the Antik Bookstore, and author Buket Uzuner.
The hot topic for the publishing industry in Turkey has been the “obscene publication” decisions of the government and these were the focus of this year's ceremony.
The author award was given to Buket Uzuner. After having been published 19 times, one of her books was declared an “obscene publication” in a decision many regard as scandalous.
The publisher award has gone to Mikado Publications. The Turkish version of the Woher die kleinen Kinder kommen by Ravensburger was also found to be 'obscene' and both the translator and publisher of the Turkish version face trial and up to 10 years of imprisonment.
The bookstore award, given every year to a bookstore for their great efforts in the industry, has been given to the Antik Bookstore in Tarsus, for their 23 years of devoted work.
Kristenn Einarsson, the Chair of IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee, attended the ceremony through a video speech.
He recalled the words of Pham Doan Trang, the detained Vietnamese journalist, author and publisher: “So books for us are not simply books, books mean life, books mean freedom”. He congratulated the 2020 laureates and confirmed IPA's ongoing support for publishers anywhere who face persecution for their work.
The TPA also releases an annual “Freedom to Publish in Turkey Report” at the awards ceremony every year. The English version of the latest report is available here: http://turkyaybir.org.tr/en/freedom-to-publish-report-october-2019-november-2020/#.YBJ-H-gzaUk
To watch the video recording of the online award ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQsX85qHOMg