Kadri Esen, owner of the only Kurdish-language newspaper distributing within Turkey, made a plea of public support when 100 issues of ‘Xwebûn’ were confiscated by police, reported Mezopotamya News Agency.
On 17 September, copies of Xwebûn were being delivered to Mersin, a city in Turkey when they were seized by police at Diyarbakır Intercity Bus Station.
The police, who intercepted the delivery without giving any explaination, confiscated 100 copies of the 144th issue of Xwebûn.
Esen said that the fact that Xwebûn is in Kurdish should not be a reason for its seizure and that the confiscation inhibits the people’s right to receive information in their own language. Confiscation of Kurdish publications is similar practice to that of the 1990s, Esen explained.
“In the 90s, journalists were murdered and newspapers were confiscated, and similar practices were in place to prevent Turkish and Kurdish newspapers from being brought to Kurdistan,” said Esen.
“The aim is to prevent new developments from being known by the Kurdish people. With these practices, the aim is to inform what is happening in Kurdistan by the eyes of the government and the Turkish media, but not the Kurdish media,” added Esen.
Esen called for public solidarity saying such pressures on Kurdish newspapers should be prevented.
The publication of numerous Kurdish newspapers – such as Halk Gerçeği (Folks’ Truth), Yeni Halk Gerçeği (New Folks’ Truth), Yeni Ülke (New Country), Özgür Gündem (Free Agenda) and Welat (Homeland) – started a struggle for media freedom throughout the 1990s.
Özgür Ülke (Free Country) started publishing in 1994 despite serious threats and attacks on Kurdish media outlets. Seven months after the first Özgür Ülke publication, their offices were bombed.
Throughout 1990s, Kurdish journalists and distributors were tortured and killed by Turkish authorities aiming to suppress Kurdish media.
Xwebun newspaper, which means self-being, has been publishing since 2019.