Home Page > Centres News Item > Norwegian PEN: Stop the gagging of Turkey’s free voices!

norskPEN image 1Norwegian PEN, in cooperation with a number of organisations, held a demonstration in front of the Norwegian Parliament on March 4 from 15:00 to 16:00.

Stop the gagging of Turkey’s free voices!

We want to urge the Norwegian government and parliament to convey a firm protest to Turkey, Norway’s allied NATO partner and fellow member of the Council of Europe. Turkish authorities are persecuting citizens that are exercising their right to freedom of speech by criticizing the Turkish president and  government. Judges, academics, writers and journalists are imprisoned.

Among them is the Editor-in-chief of Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar, and Ankara bureau chief Erdem Gül, who exposed the shipments of Turkish arms to the IS in Syria. We welcome the recent release of the journalists Dündar and Gül, after the ruling by the Constitutional Court that their detention was illegal. However, the two journalists are still due to go on trial, scheduled to begin on 25 March. In the trial, Dündar and Gül will be facing possible life sentences on charges of divulging state secrets for espionage purposes, trying to overthrow the government and assisting a terrorist organisation.

Many journalists are imprisoned because of their critical articles, and even more are awaiting punishment for having performed their duty towards society.

Prosecuted solicitors, having investigated allegations of serious corruption in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s family and associates, have lost their jobs and been prosecuted. Judges have been jailed because of their rulings.

Academics, who asked the government to resume the peace process with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), have been accused of supporting terrorism.

Both leading international human rights organisations, the Council of Europe and the EU have strongly criticized the Turkish authorities.  In the Reporters Without Borders’ ranking of press freedom in the world’s states, Turkey holds a dismal 149th place.

We urge the Norwegian government and other political parties to firmly act in order to ensure that Turkey meets the requirements of democratic states governed by law, and thus can take its place among Europe’s states. Norway, in alliance with other nations, should initiate an Inter-State Complaint to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) concerning Turkey’s systematic violation of freedom of expression and judicial independence.

Participating organisations:
Norwegian PEN
Norwegian Union of Journalists
Association of Norwegian Editors
Norwegian Media Businesses’ Association
Norwegian Press Association
Norwegian Publishers Association,
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Association of Judges
Norwegian Association of Lawyers
Norwegian Bar Association
International Commission of Jurists (Norwegian department)
Norwegian Association of Literary Translators
Norwegian Authors’ Union
Norwegian Non-fiction Writers And Translators Association
Norwegian Writers for Children
Writers’ Guild of Norway
Norwegian Library Association
Human Rights House Foundation