ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)— On May 7, Turkish police raided Belge Publishing House in Istanbul, seizing over 2,000 books, several Turkish news outlets reported.
Belge was raided due to alleged links to the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) in Cağaloğlu neighborhood of the Fatih district, according to daily Cumhuriyet.
Police reportedly said that they had an order to seize the books Stateless Kurds and Decisions Tougher than Death off the shelves. Officers also seized hundreds of books from the 1980s and 1990s, despite not having any specific orders to do so, according to the newspaper.
During the search that took about three hours, the police prevented the employees from leaving. They also briefly detained editor Mehmet Ali Varış but released him afterwards.
Armenian Member of Turkish Parliament Garo Paylan condemned the raid in a tweet on May 7. “The Belge Publishing House documented Turkey’s history of crimes. You can at least read the books that you seized,” read the tweet (in Turkish).
The publishing house was founded by Ragıp Zarakolu and his late wife Ayşe Zarakolu in 1977 and published books mostly about politics, economics, philosophy, and human rights.
Up until the military coup of September 1980, the publishing house published mostly academic and theoretical books. Afterwards, Belge started to publish a series of books written by political prisoners.
Zarakolu has also been writing and publishing about the Armenian Genocide since the 1990s. Belge Publishing House has published over ten volumes on the topic, for which Zarakolu and his family have been persecuted by Turkish authorities.
Zarakolu was arrested in 2011 as part of an operation on Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the umbrella organization of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), before being released in April 2012.