TURKEY: Uphold freedom of expression
“The Justice March – from June 15 to July 9 – was an historic moment of light and courage. The world watched with respect as thousands walked the 450 kilometers between Ankara and Istanbul to restore Turkey’s freedoms. We hope the Turkish government and judiciary will listen to their peoples’ brave call for justice.“ Jennifer Clement, PEN International President.
A year ago, a bloody coup attempt in Turkey left over two hundred people dead and over a thousand others injured. While we recognize the right of the Turkish authorities to bring those responsible for crimes committed during these violent events to justice, the unprecedented crackdown that ensued has resulted in a near-silencing of a wide range of critical voices.
Over 160 media outlets and publishing houses have been closed down since July 2016. Over 165 journalists and media workers have been jailed pending trial, making Turkey the biggest jailer of journalists in the world, surpassing China and Eritrea combined. Never in the near- 100 year history of PEN have we recorded so many writers in prison in one country at one time. Over 145,000 civil servants have been summarily dismissed and more than 47,000 people have been jailed pending trial. Turkey’s Kurdish population has been disproportionately affected, with arrests of Kurdish journalists and MPs, closures of pro-Kurdish media outlets, and the forced replacement of elected local officials.
These statistics are more than just numbers. These are people whose lives have been shattered as the Turkish authorities continue to abuse the state of emergency to stifle criticism and silence dissent.
A year on since the coup attempt, PEN Centers and members around the world urge the Turkish authorities to immediately end this far-reaching onslaught, to lift the state of emergency, and to uphold freedom of expression, which is a cornerstone of any free and just society.
Chechen PEN Centre
Ghanaian PEN Centre
PEN Centre of Bosnia and Herzegovina
PEN Eritrea in exile
PEN South Africa
PEN Suisse Romand
Portuguese PEN Centre
San Miguel PEN
Serbian PEN Centre
Slovene PEN Centre