Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık become members of the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC)

Tarik Günersel, President of PEN Turkey writes…

Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık become members of PEN WiPC

Ahmet Şık, Nedim Şener and his wife Vecide Şener joined the Turkish PEN Board meeting in Istanbul on 6 April 2012, three weeks after their release.

Nedim Şener’s 8 year-old daughter, Defne, has begun to add doors and windows to the houses she has been drawing since her father’s release. “During her father’s imprisonment, for a year, the houses she drew had no doors or windows,” her psychologist told Mr and Mrs Şener.

Members of PEN Turkey since last spring, both Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık have recently been chosen by Danish PEN as Honorary Members. Both journalists have expressed gratitude to PEN International, PEN Turkey, Danish PEN and other sister centres for their acts of solidarity.

They made their decision to become active members of the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) having seen Shi Tao’s photo on the wall, learning that the poet had been in prison in China for more than six years.

At present, three members of PEN Turkey are in prison – Mustafa Balbay, Muharrem Erbey and Halim Yazıc -, while one (Ragıp Zarakolu) was released pending trial last week. Sociologist Dr. Ismail Beşikçi, Honorary Member of PEN Turkey who spent 17 years in prison for defending the rights of Kurdish citizens, has been sentenced to 1 year and 3 months for an article in a journal. Prof. Büşra Ersanlı and translator Ayşe Berktay are among several intellectuals who are also in prison; they have recently been awarded the Turkish PEN Duygu Asena Award.

Group photo –left to right: Tarık Günersel (PEN Int’l Board member and President of PEN Turkey), Prof. Ahmet Erözenci (Int’l Secretary of PEN Turkey), Nedim Şener, Sabri Kuşkonmaz (General Secretary), Ahmet Şık, Halil İbrahim Özcan (Vice President and Chair of WiPC). Seated are Tülin Dursun (Treasurer), Vecide Şener and Zeynep Oral (Board member and the first recipient of IPI Press Freedom Dialogue Award in 2011.)