OSLO (Bia News) — Members of Parliament of the Swedish Left Party Amineh Kakabaveh, Jens Holm, Bengt Berg, Siv Holma, Marianne Berg and deputies of the Green Party Jan Lindholm and Valter Mutt applied to the Nobel Prize Committee in Oslo to nominate Ragip Zarakolu for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize.
In their application to the committee, the members of the Swedish Parliament emphasized that Zarakolu was an internationally-recognized human rights defender who became a symbol for press freedom and freedom of expression.
The application also mentioned several awards given to publisher, writer and human rights advocator Zarakolu for his efforts in this context.
A news article in the Radikal daily also referred to numerous prison sentences handed down to the publisher on the grounds of books on the Armenian Genocide, the Kurdish question, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Islam — topics considered taboos in Turkey — published by Zarakolu together with his late wife, Ayse Zarakolu.
Despite all pressure and attacks, Zarakolu continued defending freedom of thought and contributed to the reconciliation between cultures.
The Swedish parliamentarians put forward that Zarakolu became a target of the state due to his efforts. “If Turkey established a commission on law and reconciliation one day, Zarakolu should become head of this commission,” the deputies stated.
Zarakolu was arrested on November 1, 2011 in the context of an operation against the Union of Kurdish Communities (KCK), an organization founded by Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), recognized as a terrorist organization by the European Union and other countries. The International Publishers Association (IPA) criticized his arrest and announced, “He does not deserve imprisonment but the Nobel prize.”
Zarakolu received rewards of the IPA in 1998 and 2008; in 1995 and 2007 he was awarded by the Turkey Publishers Association; in 2003, he was awarded by the Norwegian Ministry of Culture and in 2010 he received the National Library Award of Armenia.