Publisher Ragip Zarakolu was reportedly moved to a high security “F-Type” prison on November 4, 2011. F-Type prisons are normally used to house highly dangerous prisoners or those serving life sentences. Zarakolu was arrested on October 29, 2011, alongside over 40 other activists, including Professor Büşra Ersanli. He is being held in pre-trial detention, charged under anti-terror legislation.

Background Information

Ragip Zarakolu was reportedly moved from Metris prison in Istanbul to Koceali No. 2 F-Type prison on November 4, 2011. F-Type prisons, officially called F-Type High Security Closed Institutions for the Execution of Sentences, are high-security prisons originally erected to accommodate members of armed organizations. Today, they are also used to house prisoners convicted of drug offenses, involvement in organized crime, and terrorism charges.

Both the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) and Amnesty International have previously criticized both the high levels of isolation suffered in F-type prisons and reports that individuals in these institutions have been subject to harsh and arbitrary disciplinary punishments.

Ragip’s son Deniz Zarakolu has also reportedly been moved to Edirne Prison in northwest Turkey.

Meanwhile, academic and writer Büşra Ersanli has released a public letter from prison in which she described her arrest and interrogation. An extract from the translated letter is reprinted below.
Open letter from Büşra Ersanli:

The police spent hours searching my home for any documents containing the words ‘Autonomy’ and ‘Kurdish’. When they found none they went to search my neighbors but lawyers present stopped them from doing so.
I was not questioned about ‘Separatism’ or ‘instructing people’s struggle’. They asked me why I became a member of the BDP, and I replied that it was because I could only see one hope and one way forward for the future.
They asked about the lessons I gave at the Institute of Politics. I have taught political culture and the political system and parties of Turkey. In any case, these educational topics are elaborated on in the book I published through KA-DER (the Society for the Support and Training of Women Candidates). I gave the same lessons as outlined here, so what relation does this all have to ‘separatist struggle’?
I have instructed my lawyers to file lawsuits against all publications that have written about me in a defamatory, threatening or insulting manner.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all academics who have given me their support.

Write A Letter

  • Expressing alarm at the continued detention of Ragip Zarakolu, Professor Büşra Ersanli and Deniz Zarakolu, as well as the continued detention of Muharrem Erbey, and other writers and journalists accused for their affiliation with Kurdish political parties;
  • Expressing concern at the movement of Ragip Zarakolu to an F-Type maximum security prison;
  • Referring to concerns that the arrests flout international standards protecting the rights to freedom of expression and association as guaranteed by both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the European Convention on Human and Democratic Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory;
  • Raising concerns that the trials are politically biased and do not conform to fair trial standards, and seeking assurances that these concerns are addressed as a matter of urgency.

Send Your Letter To

Minister of Justice
Mr Sadullah Ergin
06669 Kizilay
Fax: 00 90 312 419 3370

Please copy appeals to the diplomatic representative for Turkey in your country if possible.

Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN if sending appeals after November 30, 2011: ftw [at]