James Stephens of Biteback Publishing has acquired World English rights to We Are Arrested by award-winning journalist Can Dündar. Rights were acquired from Nermin Mollaoglu at Kalem Agency in Istanbul.
Following this month’s attempted coup, the international spotlight has fallen on Turkey’s increasingly authoritarian government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Already known for his attacks on press freedom, international observers fear the attempted coup has given Erdogan an excuse to further supress all opposition.
In November 2015 Can Dündar, editor-in-chief of the national Cumhuriyet newspaper, was arrested on charges of espionage, helping a terrorist organisation, trying to topple the government and revealing state secrets. Arraigned by the President himself, who called for Can to receive two life sentences, he was imprisoned in solitary confinement in Turkey’s Silivri prison for three months whilst awaiting trial. Dündar’s so-called crime was informing the public of the discovery of a highly illegal covert arms shipment by the Turkish secret service to radical Islamist organisations fighting government forces in Syria. This was a crime that was in the government’s interest to conceal, and a journalist’s duty to expose.
We Are Arrested is Dündar’s account of the discovery, the weighing up of the pros and cons of publishing, and the events that unfolded after the decision. Dündar and his colleagues faced police barricades, would-be suicide bombers and assassination attempts, as well as fierce attacks from pro-government media.
Incarcerated in Silivri, Can Dündar decided to write down his experiences. Here, in isolation, he learned to appreciate the small things in life. Most importantly, he realised that courage in an age of fear is essential if the public’s right to know is to be defended.
We Are Arrested will be published in September and supported by a major press campaign.
James Stephens said: ‘Under Erdogan the Turkish press has experienced a systematic crackdown. Censorship is rife and journalists are regularly arrested and imprisoned on charges of terrorism or espionage, simply for doing their job. In the wake of July’s attempted coup, it seems likely the situation will only worsen. That’s why it is more important than ever that brave voices like Can Dündar’s are heard.’
Can Dündar is Editor-in-Chief of the venerable daily newspaper Cumhuriyet. In May this year he was sentenced to imprisonment for five years and ten months for ‘leaking secret information of the state’. He has appealed to Turkey’s higher court.
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