Avesta Publishing Deposes to Anti-Terror Branch

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Avesta Publishing, whose warehouse was arsoned in 2016 and whose 13 books were banned two years later, is now facing the charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” in an investigation launched by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Avesta is charged with this offense due to social media messages containing the words “Avesta, Kurd, Kurdish and Kurdistan.”

Investigation against 40 books

Speaking to bianet about the investigation, Avesta editor Abdullah Keskin has stated that the social media messages in question are considered elements of crime for the sole reason that they contain words such as Kurd, Kurdish and Kurdistan.

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“People are interrogated because of our books that have not been banned. An investigation has been launched against around 40 of our books.

“When I heard that the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation, I went to the Diyarbakır Anti-Terror Branch (TEM) to depose.”

Established in 1995, Avesta Publishing has published over 600 books so far. Abdullah Keskin is the editor of more than 500 of them. Keskin is also the editor and publishing house owner in Kurdish publishing, against whom the highest number of investigations have been launched. He has been investigated as the publisher and editor of over 40 books.

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Verdict of judgeship as the evidence of crime

Şiraz Baran, the lawyer of Avesta Publishing, has also spoken to bianet about the recent investigation. Referring to the investigation as “tragicomic”, Baran has stated the following:

“The History of Kurdistan book by Avesta Publishing was banned by the Ayvalık Penal Court of Peace. This verdict was shared with the public on Avesta Publishing’s social media accounts without any comments.

“The verdict of the Judgeship has been included in the case file as evidence of ‘propagandizing for a terrorist organization.’

“They did a random search and compiled some posts with certain keywords. Including the posts with the word ‘Avesta’ in them…

“Some posts featuring the picture of Abdullah Keskin without any other comments have been put in the case file as well. Those posts were compiled and a complaint was filed by email. Seeing the words Kurd and Kurdish, the Prosecutor’s Office immediately launched an investigation. (MB/EKN/SD)

* Photographs: Murat Bayram / bianet