Spotlight on Fazil Say and Turkey – we need your support!

Fazil Say

YorkPEN are supporting PEN International and the Writers at Risk Programme with their campaign for freedom of expression in Turkey.

Fazil Say, one of Turkey’s most eminent musicians, composers and writers, has been taken to court for religious defamation in the form of Twitter messages regarding his atheism. He was given a 10 month suspended jail sentence on 15th April 2013. This follows an open letter from PEN to Turkey’s Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin, signed by leading artists such as Ian McEwan and Alan Ayckbourn, asking for the charges to be dropped.

However, Fazil Say’s case is far from singular – PEN is currently involved with more cases in Turkey at the moment than any other country, it has been labelled the ‘world’s worst jailor’ of journalists by the Committee to Protect Journalists and is 154thout of 179 countries in the 2013 World Press Freedom rankings. In addition to this, PEN Turkey investigators and poet Nihat Ateş (who uploaded content to the PEN Turkey site) are currently under investigation for criticising the charges against Fazil Say, despite a meeting with Turkish President Abdullah Gül in November 2012, in which he claimed that he wanted issues of freedom of expression to be “no longer on the country’s agenda”. In April 2013 journalists Zeyneb Kuray, for whom English PEN has been campaigning, was released but there are 24 others still in detention.

YorkPEN strongly opposes this criminal investigation and the on-going attempts to deny Turkish artists and journalists creative freedom.

Please show your support:

1) Send a letter to the Minister of Justice to protest Fazil Say’s conviction. Click here for the address or to fill out a sample letter: http://www.englishpen.org/turkey-pen-protests-the-sentencing-of-fazil-say/

2) Send a letter of support to Fazil Say. Email yorkpen@yusu.org and we will forward on your message to him.

3) Send a letter to the Minister of Justice welcoming the release of Zeyneb Kuray and Sadiq Topaloğlu and calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the 24 journalists still being detained. Click here for the address or  to fill out a sample letter: http://www.englishpen.org/turkey-english-pen-welcomes-release-of-two-journalists/

To keep helping:

  • If you are a student of the University of York, you can join our society and come to our meetings – Tuesdays at 6.15 at the Deramore Arms. For any information, just email yorkpen@yusu.org
  • Join English PEN and receive their updates on other international cases and opportunities to help: http://www.englishpen.org
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