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Aydınlık daily writer Sabahattin Önkibar was attacked by a group of 10 people on the first day of 36th İstanbul International Book Fair on Saturday (November 4) during his autograph session at the bookstand of Kırmızı Kedi Publishing House.
According to Odatv newschannel's report, the attacker group also injured the employees of the publishing house.
The publishing house informed on its social media account, that writer Sabahattin Önkibar continued the autograph session despite the attack.
Statement from Önkibar
Making a statement following the attack, Önkibar stated that the attacker group asked him about his book Asena published on October 30, that was about the Meral Akşener, former Minister of Interior and member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), who led a group of opposition within the party against its leader Devlet Bahçeli and founded a new political party the Good Party (İyi Parti) on 25 October 2017, which she is the leader of.
"We are confronted with mentality that can't even tolerate a book. This is the point, where Turkey stands but we will not bend before it but insist on fighting against it", Önkibar said, and added:
"Referring to my book Asena, they told me why I wrote it. And I said that I was performing journalism. There is of course this already rage over my previous book ["Everything about Devlet Bahçeli and the ultranationalists] about Devlet Bahçeli [leader of MHP].
"And they punched me. It is obvious, they are the organized bodyguards of Devlet Bahçeli".
Reactions following the attack
Kırmızı Kedi Yayınevi'nin sahibi Haluk Hepkon saldırıya sosyal medya hesabından yaptığı açıklamayla tepki gösterdi. Owner of Kırmızı Kedi Publishing House Haluk Hepkon has denounced the attack in a statement he shared on his social media account.
In a statement he made later, Hepkon said "This attack is a reflection of the intolerant and anti-democratic climate in Turkey and said that they would not pull back.
Turkish Publishers Association in its statement has also condemned the attacks on writers and publishers and noted that such attacks are violations of the right to live in a democratic society.
Republican People's Party (CHP) MP Barış Yarkadaş also made a statement regarding the attack and said:
"Releasing those who attacked Kırmızı Kedi Publishing House earlier, has probably encouraged new attackers. [...] Journalists are not only being arrested but are also being exposed to physical attacks".
On February 10, 2017, Kırmızı Kedi Publishing House was attacked by a group wearing snow masks. The publishing house regarding the attack, stated that it was "an obvious terror attack" on the pretext of writer Sabahattin Önkibar's book entitled "Everything about Devlet Bahçeli and the Ultranationalists" that was pulled off the shelves.
On October 23, 2017, writer İhsan Eliaçık was also verbally attacked by a group calling him "godless, faithless" as he entered the Kayseri Book Fair. Police pushed the assailant group. Eliaçık had to leave the fair area. (TP/DG)
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