Turkey is unbanning nearly 2,000 previously blacklisted publications next month, including 453 books. Susanne Gusten looks at what Turks have been missing out on:
Among the works to be legalized by the move are several books by Turkey’s greatest 20th-century poet, Nazim Hikmet, including an edition of his “Collected Works,” banned by an Ankara court in 1968, as well as a book by the country’s most influential theologian, Said Nursi.
The list also includes the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx; a 1987 edition of the National Geographic Atlas of the World, banned by the government itself for designating Kurdistan and Armenia; a collection of folk songs from the rebellious province of Dersim; a 1996 human rights report by the Turkish Human Rights Association, banned by a state security court; and the Italian comic book Captain Miki, outlawed in 1961 for “leading children astray.”
Ankara has been sending mixed signals on freedom of expression in recent years, with recent legislation increasing the government's ability to filter online content. In a move last week that the heroic Captain Miki would surely not appreciate, the government fined a TV network for airing an allgedly blasphemous episode of the Simpsons.