‘We are writers from around the world who love, live and breathe words. We are united in our belief that freedom of expression is a universal and fundamental human right. We are gravely concerned about “the freedom of words” in Turkey.’
This is the beginning of an open letter written by a group of leading international writers which was published today. The open letter follows the recent publication of a PEN report on last year’s Gezi Park Protests and the impact on freedom of expression in Turkey. The report documents individual allegations of human rights violations that took place during the protests and examines Turkish legislation concerning freedom of expression, assembly, and the press in light of obligations under international human rights treaties to which Turkey is a signatory state.
The letter also refers to Turkey’s regressive new Internet Law, dating from February 2014, which gives Turkey’s telecommunications authority almost unlimited power in tightening its control over the internet, and to Turkey’s recent blanket ban on Twitter and Youtube.
The letter, signed amongst others by Orhan Pamuk, Günther Grass and Elfriede Jelinek, recalls that ‘translators, editors, publishers, poets and writers face criminal proceedings and even imprisonment for legitimate expression, under a variety of legal fetters’.
For the full letter, please click here (http://www NULL.theguardian NULL.com/world/2014/mar/27/letters-turkey-freedom-expression).
PEN International’s announcement of the letter, including links to PEN’s reports, can be found here (http://www NULL.pen-international NULL.org/newsitems/leading-international-writers-join-pen-in-calling-for-greater-freedom-of-expression-in-turkey/).