Project coordinator Metin Celâl, Communications Manager Yonca Cingöz and Events Manager Cenk Onturk had a visit to Stockholm on 28-29 April 2015. The main aim of the visit was to meet with the project partner Swedish Publishers Association and assess the project’s process. Another aim was to gather information about publishing sector and freedom of expression in Sweden in terms of legislation, implementations and the role and effect of civil society on this issue to be able to compare the situation with Turkey. First meeting was held at our partner’s representative Ola Wallin’s own publishing house, Ersatz Co together with Wallin and his publisher partner, Anna Bengtsson. The project team was informed about the profile of the publishing house and their observations about the current state of book publishing in Sweden. On the same day, the team had a formal dinner with Wallin, Bengtsson, Swedish PEN President Ola Larsmo, Member of Swedish Parliament and Dep. Member of Committee on EU Affairs Désirée Pethrus Engström, Member of Swedish Parliament Ida Karkiainen. Parliament members reflected the Swedish politicians’ attitude to freedom of expression and publishing issues and how they perceive the situation in Turkey. The team informed the attendants with data from TPA’s former Freedom to Publish Reports.
On 29 April morning, the team met with Tomas Lappalainen, Swedish Writers Union President in the Union office and talked about the problems from writers’ point of view. Afterwards, the team visited the office of Swedish Publishers Association to meet with the Managing Director Kristina Ahlinder and Legal Advisor Mikaela Zabrodsky. Ahlinder and Zabrodsky shared comprehensive information about the legislation related to book publishing and freedom of expression in Sweden, current subjects of discussions regarding publishing on controversial subjects, public-political reactions and legal sanctions.