On 7 December 2010 İrfan Sancı of Turkish publishing house Sel Yayınları and translator İsmail Yerguz were acquitted from charges of publishing/translating obscene books. The books at stake in the court case that was instituted earlier this year involved a Turkish work entitled Perinin sarkacı by Ben Mila, and two works translated from French by İsmail Yerguz: Genç Bir Don Juan’ın Maceraları (‘Les exploits d’un jeune Don Juan’) written by Guillaume Apollinaire, and Görgülü ve Bilgili bir Burjuva Kadının Mektupları (‘Correspondance d’une Bourgeoise Avertie’) by P.V. All three titles were published in Sel’s series Cinsel (‘Sexual’), consisting of erotic literature and non-fiction on sexual topics.

In earlier hearings an expert witness, appointed by the court, deemed all three of the books to be literary works, which cannot be considered to be obscene. Nevertheless, the public prosecutor handed the titles over to the Prime Ministerial Council for the Protection of Children from Harmful Publications, which ruled that these publications were harmful for children. In the third hearing of 7 December the judge agreed that the three titles at issue are literary works not addressed to children. Publisher İrfan Sancı and translator İsmail Yerguz were discharged.

Earlier, a similar case was instituted against the Turkish translation of another work by Apollinaire, Les onze mille verges (‘Onbin bir kırbaç’), translated in 1999 by the Hades publishing house. This book was confronted with charges of obscenity, too. At the beginning of 2010 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Turkish judgement violated the freedom of expression as formulated in the European Declaration of Human Rights, and that the penalty and confiscation imposed by the Turkish court in this case, were disproportionate and not needed in a democratic country.

Download (http://www NULL.ceatl NULL.eu/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/Sel_Ya_20100701 NULL.pdf) the letter CEATL wrote last June to support Sel Yayınları and translator İsmail Yerguz.

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