In response to the news that a Turkish court upheld life sentences for journalists Ahmet and Mehmet AltanNazli Ilicak, alongside three others, on charges of aiding the failed 2016 coup attempt, PEN America released the following statement: 

“The deeply disappointing and unjust decision to uphold aggravated life sentences against prominent journalists is a devastating blow to what little remains of freedom of expression in Turkey. Ahmed, Mehmet, and Nazli have been subjected to a politically motivated campaign intended to silence not only them but any who would speak out against the government. This case is emblematic of the government’s virulent attacks on journalists, with more than 70 imprisoned in 2017.  Now it falls to Turkey’s Supreme Court to demonstrate if the rule of law still has any meaning in the country.” 


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager: