To: Interpol                                                                                                                                      21 September 2018

Regarding the Arrest Warrant issued for Ragip Zarakolu

To whom it may concern,

The Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden expresses its dismay at the demand by a Turkish court to seek an Interpol Red Notice for Ragip Zarakolu. A publicist and a diligent human rights proponent who was in 2014 forced to flee his beloved homeland and seek refuge in Sweden, Zarakolu has continued his work with promoting human rights and democratic values in Turkey. Respected and praised by several NGOs, not to mention diaspora organizations representing minority groups in Turkey, Zarakolu has been awarded for his unwavering struggle for freedom of speech, human rights and democracy in Turkey: by the International Publishers Association, the PL-Foundation Freedom Award, by Association of American Publishers et al. These are testimony for the wide recognition of Zarakolu’s work for democracy and justice; nothing else.

That is why the Turkish court’s request to apprehend Zarakolu cannot be viewed as anything else than part of the publicly and internationally criticized degeneration of democracy and freedom of expression in Turkey, witnessed in the deplorable crackdown on the opposition and mass-arrests of critical voices. It is based on this internationally consensus of the circumstances in Turkey that the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden calls on Interpol to decline the Turkish court’s request as it is clearly politically motivated and contrary to anything that the justice system in a democratic society is supposed to uphold. If complied with, the arrest of Zarakolu would only kindle the diminishing of democracy and freedom of speech and expression of mind in Turkey. Furthermore, any such action against Zarakolu would not only affect him personally, but several other similar democracy champions alike him and ultimately the very democracy in Turkey itself.

With best regards,

The Board of the Union of Armenian Associations in Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden