2006: Turkey: Elif Shafak

September 29th 2006

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Dear Prime Minister, Your Excellency

PEN International welcomes the acquittal on 21 September 2006 of writer Elif Shafak of charges of “Insult” for comments made by fictitious characters in a novel.
And yet, we cannot celebrate the event, thinking of the scores of writers, journalists and publishers that are on trial in Turkey.

Among those listed as being prosecuted or under threat of being prosecuted, are: Hrant Dink, Ipek Calislar, Ragip Zarakolu.

International PEN is deeply alarmed by the continued and growing number of writers, journalists and publishers who are before courts for reasons that are in breach of international human rights conventions. It calls for an end to these trials and for a thorough review of the legislation that penalise freedom of expression as guaranteed under Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Turkey has stated its commitment.

We call on the Turkish governments to do all that it can to abide by its commitments to the protection and promotion of freedom of expression.

Thank you, Your Excellency, for reading and listening to this urgent appeal.

Yours sincerely

Aase Gjerdrum
Member of Norwegian PEN WiPC

Cc to The Turkish Embassy in Oslo