On 4 June during its annual award ceremony for the Prizes for Freedom of Thought and Expression the Publishers’ Union of Turkey (Türkiye Yazarlar Birliği; TYB) awarded its Special Prize to translator Mr Tonguç Ok.

Ok (40) started his career as a translator while in prison. He was arrested in 1997 when a third-grade student of English at Marmara University (Istanbul). In 2008 he was convicted with aggravated life sentence on charges of attempting to alter the constitutional order by force.

Tonguç Ok (http://www NULL.ceatl NULL.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/turkey NULL.tonguc NULL.ok_ NULL.bianet NULL.june14 NULL.jpg)
Tonguç Ok

During his seventeen years in prison Mr Ok improved his English and learned Italian, Spanish and Kurdish. For periods he wasn’t allowed to receive foreign language publications, though this embargo was later lifted (click here (http://www NULL.ceatl NULL.eu/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Letter_Tonguc_Ok_051009 NULL.pdf) for the letter CEATL wrote on this subject). So far Ok has translated fourteen books, mostly from English into Turkish or Kurdish. His translations have been published by publishing house Evrensel.

Ok’s appeal to the European Court for Human Rights against his arrest and his unfair and lenghty trial continues.

For more information on the award of the Publishers’ Union of Turkey  (in Turkish), please click (http://www NULL.turkyaybir NULL.org NULL.tr/haberler/dusunce-ve-ifade-ozgurlugu-odulleri-verildi/432) here.

For more information on Mr Tonguç Ok, please click here (http://www NULL.bianet NULL.org/bianet/insan-haklari/156220-cezaevine-turkce-ve-kurtce-pencere-acti-odule-uzandi) (in Turkish) or here (http://www NULL.bianet NULL.org/english/media/156242-jailed-translator-bridges-kurdish-english-turkish-receives-publishers-award) (English).

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