PEN Norway’s Interview with Muharrem Erkek,Vice President of theRepublican People’s Party (CHP)

Historic elections take place in Turkey on May 14th, 2023, in which the candidates for both the President and Turkey’s Parliament will be determined. A month before the elections PEN Norway’s Turkey Adviser travelled to Istanbul to interview representatives of the major political parties to question them about issues such as freedom of expression, the freedom of the press, the rule of law, and the right to a fair trial in Turkey. A total of 11 party representatives were interviewed and today we are presenting the interview with Muharrem Erkek, Vice President of the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Since 2020, as part of the Turkey Indictment Project, PEN Norway has examined 25 separate indictments focused on freedom of expression in Turkey and has produced reports on these indictments in cooperation with expert lawyers from different European countries. The PEN Norway Turkey Indictment Project reports of 2020 and 2021 revealed that every one of the 25 indictments in question failed to comply with Turkey’s domestic legal provisions and also international provisions and contracts such as the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Guidlines for prosecutors.

PEN Norway’s in-person, recent, observations of such trials as the Gezi Park trial, the We Will Stop Femicide Platform case and trials of Turkey’s chief physician Prof. Dr Şebnem Korur Fincancı, activist Pınar Selekand journalist Sedef Kabaş all demonstrate the lack of independence of the judiciary as well as serious fundamental flaws in the preparation of indictments.

We hope that these historic elections in Turkey will be instrumental in strengthening fundamental rights and freedoms for all.

Read the full interview here in English