Turkey: Court case against ‘obscene’ books postponed three years

9 July 2012

On 5 July 2012 at the Çağlayan Courts of Justice in İstanbul, a judge set aside expert opinion that would have ended the trials against the publishers of the Turkish editions of William Burroughs’ ‘The Soft Machine’ and Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Snuff’. Instead they, and the books’ translators, face three more years of uncertainty after the judge pronounced that the trial would be postponed until 2015.

Meanwhile the judge warned that if either of the publishing houses or the translators were foolish enough to publish further ‘obscene’ works, these cases would be added to the charge sheet.

The judge told the court that just the day before, new laws had been passed under a legislative reform package, and that, as a result, he was unable to pass judgement. Instead he was required to postpone the case for three years.

Both publishing houses are known for publishing challenging works. Sel, for example, have been tried and acquitted of obscenity seven times in recent years; most recently in 2010, when Sel were tried for publishing several books in translation including Guillaume Apollionaire’s Adventures of the Young Don Juan.


PEN International – 6 July 2012:
Sara Whyatt, Deputy Director of the Writers in Prison Committee at PEN International writes about Obscenity Trials in Turkey

PEN International – 8 July 2012:
Turkey: Burroughs and Palahniuk publishers face three years under “sword of Damocles” threat
PEN International and the International Publishers Association (IPA) protest the decision taken by an Istanbul court on Thursday postponing the trial against publishers and translators of the Turkish editions of William Burroughs’ The Soft Machine and Chuck Palahniuk’s Snuff until 2015. They were also warned that further ‘obscene’ works that they publish in the meantime will be added to their cases.

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