12. juni: The price of free speech in Turkey- A conversation with Leyla Zana

Photo: Hans Jørgen Brun
– Rafto Laureate 1994 and Kurdish MP in Turkey Leyla Zana in conversation with Nuray Yildirim Gullestad of Norwegian PEN

Introduction by Eugene Schoulgin ofNorwegian PEN

Place: Litteraturhuset in Oslo, Wergeland room.
Organiser: Rafto Foundation and Norwegian PEN

Leyla Zana is a fiercely independent spokeswoman for peace, democracy, and the right to self-determination for the Kurdish people. She has a remarkable story to tell, starting with her childhood growing up in rural Turkey, continuing through marriage at the age of 15, entry into Kurdish politics, her election to the Parliament in 1991 followed by ten years in prison, and finally the roller coaster ride of Turkish and Kurdish politics since Akp became a dominant party in 2002. Her life in politics is framed by the two of the most dramatic events in recent Turkish history – the coup of 1980 with its brutal aftermath, and the attempted coup of 2016, the aftermath of which is still ongoing. Zana is living in Diyarbakir.Nuray Yildirim came to Norway from Turkey as a political refugee in 1998. She is another remarkable Kurdish woman, working at the Norwegian Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDi) on some of the most demanding challenges facing women, such as honor killings and forced marriage. She is also a writer, works on her Masters thesis on the participation of Kurdish women in political, and leads the western division of Norwegian PEN, based in Bergen.