Turkey’s largest religious publication group denied spot at Ramadan book fair

According to Özden Demir, general manager of the Kaynak Publishing Group, barring the largest religious books publisher in the country from the 34th Turkey Book and Culture Fair is discriminative. (Photo: Cihan)
According to Özden Demir, general manager of the Kaynak Publishing Group, barring the largest religious books publisher in the country from the 34th Turkey Book and Culture Fair is discriminative. (Photo: Cihan)

Date posted: June 19, 2015

Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs has refused to allocate an exhibit space at a Ramadan book fair to the country’s largest religious publication group over its affiliation with the Gülen movement, a faith-based movement with which the government has been waging a war for some time.

In an apparent politically motivated decision, the directorate, which has recently been under fire for being a tool for government favoritism, barred 20 publishing houses, including the Kaynak Kültür publishing group, from participating in the 34th Turkey Book and Culture Fair which started on Wednesday. The fair is organized by the directorate and the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s cultural department, Kültür A.Ş, every Ramadan.

According to Özden Demir, general manager of the Kaynak Publishing Group, barring the largest publisher of religious books in the country from the 34th Turkey Book and Culture Fair is discriminatory. Demir told the Cihan news agency on Tuesday that the reason given for them not being allowed to participate in the fair is “limited space,” which he claims is completely without merit.

Demir said they were unable to register for space at the fair after being told by directorate officials of the decision. Demir also noted they have been participating in the fair every year since 2000 and have never faced any problem before.

The Kaynak publishing group consists dozens of publishers that put out books in different categories and languages. The group is also known as the publisher of books written by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who inspires the Gülen movement — popularly known as the Hizmet movement.

Since a major corruption probe became public on Dec. 17, 2013 implicating people close to the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), media outlets, publishing houses and even NGOs close to the Gülen movement have been targeted by the government.

The AK Party and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused sympathizers of the Gülen movement, especially those in the police force and the judiciary, of being part of a plot against the government by carrying out the graft probe. However, Erdoğan and AK Party circles have yet to present any concrete evidence proving their accusations. The movement has strongly denied all claims.

In a similar move last year, the directorate refused to allocate exhibit space at the same book fair to the Ufuk and Zaman Kitap publishing houses, which have ties to the Hizmet movement. It had also halved the square footage allocated to Kaynak.

Event officials claimed that they did not have enough room for all the publishing houses this year because the fair’s grounds, located in İstanbul’s Beyazıt district, were reduced in size as a result of a recent restoration project.

However the directorate allocated stands to the government-controlled Yeni Şafak and Star dailies — which were allegedly bought using a pool of money to which businessmen close to the government contributed — although neither publication is associated with a publishing house.

The directorate’s attitude is reminiscent of what was seen in the period that led to the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military intervention in Turkey. However, at that time, it was the publishers printing the Risale-i Nur collection written by Said Nursi, a prominent Islamic theologian, who were not allowed to participate in the fair.

Source: Today's Zaman , June 18, 2015

Related News

Policeman who fought against putchists arrested while getting treatment at hospital

Ekrem Türk, a 34-year old police officer who fought to prevent the advance of army tanks in Turkish capital on the day of failed coup bid of July 15, 2016 was rounded up while he was getting treatment at a private hospital in Ankara.

Japanese journalists express concern over Turkish gov’t pressure on critical media

A group of Japanese journalists who came together with their Turkish colleagues at the Turkey-Japan Media Forum last week in Tokyo expressed shock at the pressure placed on independent media outlets by the Turkish government while speaking about the violation of media freedoms in Turkey.

US Unlikely to ‘Speed Up’ Gulen’s Extradition to Turkey

Turkey has formally requested that the U.S. government extradite Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen from the state of Pennsylvania where he has lived in self-imposed exile for 17 years. Turkey is pushing for quick extradition, suggesting that U.S.-Turkish relations are at stake. But the burden of proof rests squarely on Ankara, and if it cannot sufficiently prove its accusations against Gulen, the extradition request will be refused.

Cleric’s Lawyers Want US Suit Backed by Turkey Tossed

Attorneys for a reclusive Muslim cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania asked a federal judge late Wednesday to dismiss a lawsuit that claims he orchestrated human rights abuses in his native Turkey, denouncing it as “pure political theater” by the Turkish government.

MİT to monitor all religious groups as potential parts of parallel state

The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) recently sent a document in which all religious communities and groups within state institutions, described as “parallel state structures” (PDY) in the document, were cited as the main target to be monitored in 2014, the Taraf daily claimed on Friday. Analysts are concerned that the government’s attitude may take the form of a witch hunt that will undermine democracy.

Fethullah Gulen: I Condemn All Threats to Turkey’s Democracy

I have been advocating for democracy for decades. Having suffered through four military coups in four decades in Turkey — and having been subjected by those military regimes to harassment and wrongful imprisonment — I would never want my fellow citizens to endure such an ordeal again. If somebody who appears to be a Hizmet sympathizer has been involved in an attempted coup, he betrays my ideals.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Survey shows Turkish gov’t seized at least $11 billion of company assets over Gülen links

Erdogan’s Turkey: ‘You are either with us or you are terrorists’

Mother of three arrested with baby as police fail to locate teacher husband

Fethullah Gülen’s book ‘Love and Tolerance’ translated into Greek

Defamation- Pro-Erdoğan daily claims Gülen movement converted 500,000 to Christianity in Kazakhstan

64-year-old bedridden woman in 17th month of her imprisonment on “terror” charges

AK Party’s social media instructions to ministries raise questions of legality

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News