PEN mourns the passing of writer, theatre critic and former president of PEN Turkey, Üstun Akmen


akmen03 November 2015

PEN is deeply saddened by the news that writer, theatre critic and former president of PEN Turkey has died, aged 72.

‘The death of Üstun Akmen is a loss for PEN International, for Turkish culture and the Turkish people. We want to send our most sincere condolences to his family and all his friends in PEN Turkey.’ – Jennifer Clement , PEN International president.

‘I remember meeting Üstun Akmen in 2004, in Istanbul, where we organized an international meeting on freedom of expression in the country in partnership with PEN Turkey. He was a warm person, a man faithful to the principles of PEN, deeply committed. He has contributed enormously in making PEN a voice that is heard in Turkish society.’ – Carles Torner, PEN International Executive Director.

‘Our dear PEN colleague and former president of PEN Turkey Üstün Akmen has passed away. His gentle and friendly personality, his strong defense of human dignity and human rights in his society as well as among people in general made him a respected and highly appreciated leader for his center. During his conduct PEN Turkey was revived and renewed. Those of us in PEN who had the privilege to learn to know him morn his death, and will keep him in our memory with great sympathy and love.’ – Eugene Schoulgin, PEN International Vice President. 

‘Üstün Akmen was not just the former President of PEN Turkey but also a vital member or the organization for a long time. It was he who brought most of us who are now involved with PEN Turkey together. We worked together for 40 years and my sorrow for his loss is now inseparable from my sorrow for my country in these dark days. I will miss his courage, his hard work and his huge smile’ – Zeynep Oral, President of PEN Turkey.