2008: Turkey: Article 301

February 21st 2008

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Adalet Bakanligi
06659 Ankara

Your Excellency,

PEN International is continuously alarmed by the situation for controversial writers and publishers in Turkey. Reports tell of some improvements, which is of course good news.
Still, we learn of arrests and harassment, threats and trials linked to individuals use of their right to free expression.  Above all, the international society is waiting to hear of amendments to Article 301, which have been announced in December of last year. In the meantime, trials continue against publisher Ragip Zarakolu, and seems to drag on, and another hearing is set for April 8th.

PEN protests the continuing trial against 20 persons, in addition to Ragip Zarakolu, under Article 301.

PEN is also concerned about the situation for writers such as  Perihan Magden and Ece Temelkuran. We urge that there be increased measures taken to bring to justice those that threaten individuals.

Your Excellency, on behalf of PENs Writers in Prison Committee, I urge you to look into these cases and take action against those who prosecute writers who make use of their right to freedom of expression, as laid down in international conventions

With sincere best wishes

Aase Gjerdrum
Member of Writers in Prison Committee, Norwegian PEN