25/03/2020 | Writer: Yiğit E Korkmaz

“To limit them in accordance with an assessment that is free from objectivity and under the concept of obscenity, which is very subjective and ambiguous in regards to its context, and open to controversial comments, is a proceeding that is incompatible with the democratic social order and is unacceptable."

Translators Association: We are standing with our colleague Kaos GL - News Portal for LGBTI+

The Board of Directors of the Professional Association of Translators (Çevbir) issued a statement on the announcement of the books of the Declaration of The Rights of Girls and the Declaration of The Rights of Boys as 'obscene', the collection and destruction of books and the lawsuit against the translator.

As a result of the homophobic and transphobic report prepared by the Ministry of Familly, Labour and Social Services, Çevbir stated that they are on the side of the translator of books that were collected and destroyed; "The use of basic rights and freedoms is the principal, the limitations are exceptional. To limit them in accordance with an assessment that is free from objectivity and under the concept of obscenity, which is very subjective and ambiguous in regards to its context, and open to controversial comments, is a proceeding that is incompatible with the democratic social order and is unacceptable."

The full text of the statement is as follows:

“According to media reports, on September 27, 2019, the Board of Protection of Minors from Obscene Publications in Turkey, declared 4 children's books that have been published in Turkish were "harmful" on the grounds that it would harm children's spirituality. The Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services submitted a report to the prosecutor's office in order to collect the book and take action against those responsible, claiming that the Book of The Children's Rights had obscene content.

"We have been regretfully informed that our colleague Burcu Uğuz have been prosecuted because of translation of the books, the Declaration of The Rights of Girls(YKY, 2017) and the Declaration of The Rights of Boys (YKY, 2017) written by Elisabeth Brami and illustrated by Estelle Billon-Spagno. The indictment, which is based on the grounds of "mediating the spread of obscene publications", calls for the translator to be tried with a prison sentence. Moreover, the indictment blames the translator for both the publication, publication, distribution and even the drawings of the book. "As Çevbir, we condemn this attitude, which has nothing to do with the practical realities of book translation and demand an end to such practices that make it difficult to perform the profession of translation. We stand with our colleague, and we will monitor the trial process directly.

"Freedom of expression and dissemination of thought is one of our fundamental rights and freedoms and is constitutionally guaranteed. The use of basic rights and freedoms is the principal, the limitations are exceptional. To limit them in accordance with an assessment that is free from objectivity and under the concept of obscenity, which is very subjective and ambiguous in regards to its context, and open to controversial comments is a proceeding that is incompatible with the democratic social order and is unacceptable.

"Every translation book is published as the product of the common effort of multiple parties– albeit of different quality-: It is a common product of the author, publisher, and translator. As a professional organization that advocates for translator rights and freedom of expression, we find it equally unacceptable to prosecute any of the parties that have participated in this co-production. However, we would like to specifically state that all of these parties should stand for the freedom of expression in the same way and loudly; the translator who has been left alone so far should be supported in the trial process. In addition to Yapı-Kredi Publications, we call on the public to stand with the translator."

Translation: Yiğit E. Korkmaz


Tags: human rights, arts and culture
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