Norwegian PEN’s colleague Erol Önderoglu detained in Istanbul


A close friend of Norwegian PEN, Erol Önderoglu, and his two colleagues, Ahmet Nesin and Sebnem Korur Fincanci were detained yesterday because they have been active in a solidarity campaign for the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem. The indictment has been known for a while, but yesterday the court in Istanbul sentenced them to detention until the trial takes place.

Johann Bier, head of the Reporters Without Borders for Eastern Europe and Asia, calls this a “black day for freedom of expression” and says that “Erol Önderoglu has fought tirelessly to defend persecuted journalists in the past 20 years. He is a leader in this work because of his honesty and integrity, which is recognized in the press and freedom of expression groups worldwide.”

The reason for the indictment agains Önderoglu and his two colleagues are three articles which were published in Özgür Gündem on 18th May about the power struggles within the Turkish security forces, as well as on the ongoing military operations against the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) in Anatolia.

Önderoglu is a close colleague of Norwegian PEN. He has reported to RSF on freedom of expression’s situation in Turkey via the online newspaper BIANET since 1996. He is a member of IFEX Council and also participated in a seminar on extremism and journalism at the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Oslo and Akershus University College in March this year.

William Nygaard, president of Norwegian PEN, calls the imprisonments shocking and unacceptable. They show once again a Turkey in a judicial dissolution.

The Norwegian government must react to Turkey’s government, demanding that the three be freed.

Please sign the petition to release Erol Önderoglu.