A decision was passed at the hearing held at Ankara 12th Administrative Court for the lawsuit regarding the decision of “obscene publication” and restriction for the two of the books Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Declaration of the Rights of Girls, and Declaration of the Rights of Boys. The decision to cancel the “obscene publication” judgment for the books Declaration of the Rights of Girls and Declaration of the Rights of Boys was approved.
The attorney Erdem announced from his Twitter account that the appeal request of the Ministry for the books Declaration of the Rights of Girls and Declaration of the Rights of Boys was rejected and the decision was approved and used the phrase “both books are now free.” Thus, the decision of “obscene publication” declared two years ago for four books is no longer valid for two of these books.
WHAT HAD HAPPENED?
In September 2019, the Protection of Minors from Obscene Publications Board, operating under the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services declared the books Circumciser Girl, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Declaration of the Rights of Girls, and Declaration of the Rights of Boys as “obscene publications.” One of the attorneys of Community Centers Law Department, Mehmet Ümit Erdem, filed a lawsuit in October 2019 for cancellation of the restriction decision and suspension of execution for the banned children’s books. The Ministry of Family and Labor had objected to the reports of independent experts prepared during the lawsuit indicating that the books “are not obscene publications” based on the ground that “the visuals are obscene, the intended love promotes homosexuality.”
“BOTH BOOKS ARE FREE!”
The tweets of attorney Erdem regarding the decision are as follows:
“Let me break the good news on the International Day of the Girl Child: We won the lawsuits for both the Declaration of the Rights of Girls and Boys! Ankara 12th Administrative Court reversed the judgement despite the counter vote of the chairman. While the report of two member experts noted that the judgement should be reversed, the chairman defended that the lawsuit should be dismissed. The reason for dismissal was ‘some of the expressions and the visuals below are supportive of adverse sexual orientations, promote transsexuality, and may harm mental and emotional health and balanced development of children.’ In other words, there are judges who believe these visuals are obscene. In this lawsuit we filed for revealing the conservative ethics that see obscenity in these drawings and to condemn them legally, we realized that there are people who believe the same despite their legal education. But the good news came from Ankara Regional Administrative Court. The 10th Department rejected the appeal request of the ministry and approved the judgement in a very short time. So now, both books are free!
As a result, it was officially registered that the judgment of the Protection of Minors from Obscene Publications Board, of which the members’ names are concealed from the public and which has only a single member with an academic title, and the counter vote of the chairman of the court are unjust. After I filed the lawsuit, many individuals and institutions stood by me. I would like to thank all of them. However, @YKYHaber, the publisher of the book, did not look out for the book and the author. They neither filed a lawsuit nor supported the already filed case. I am not sure how they will have the face to publish these books once the lawsuit is over. I think that the books Declaration of the Rights of Girls and Boys should be re-printed and reach thousands of new children. However, they should be printed by a publishing house that deserves them. I wish the authors were aware of this process and took the publishing rights away from @YKYHaber.
While the process regarding these books ended in victory, our struggle for the third book continues. Our lawsuit filed for the book Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls was dismissed. The court dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that “it was understood that if children under 18 have access to the said book, this may cause certain issues in the identity development of these children.” We also appealed this case, however; no judgment has been passed yet. I will take the case first to the Constitutional Court and if necessary, then to the European Court of Human Rights if the Regional Administrative Court gives an adverse decision. I will not give up until this unlawful conduct that bans children’s books in my country is revealed and registered before the law. You should not give up as well. Together, we will overthrow this dark blockade!”