2 March 2017 – The arrest of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel marks an alarming new chapter in Turkey’s assault on freedom of expression, said PEN International, German PEN and PEN Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad today, as they called on the Turkish authorities to release him and other detained journalists and writers immediately.
Deniz Yücel, who works for the German newspaper Die Welt, was formally charged on 27 February 2017 with spreading terrorist propaganda and incitement to hatred. He had been held in detention since 14 February 2017.
“The arrest of Deniz Yücel signals a dangerous escalation of the Turkish authorities’ crackdown on media freedom,” said Jennifer Clement, PEN International President. “By prosecuting a German journalist, the authorities are clearly attempting to muzzle the foreign press and intimidate all journalists into silence.”
“We cannot accept this and have to fight for Deniz Yücel’s immediate release by all means”, said Sascha Feuchert, Vice President of German PEN.
Since the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016, the Turkish authorities have cracked down on writers, journalists, media organisations, publishing houses, the judiciary and political opponents, resulting in a near total silencing of critical voices.
“More than 150 writers and journalists are currently behind bars, making Turkey the biggest jailer of journalists in the world,” said Josef Haslinger, President of German PEN. “The Turkish authorities must immediately release all those held in prison for exercising their right to freedom expression.”
“Some of our PEN members had to live under dictatorship,” said Freya Klier from PEN Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad. “Support and publicity are essential for writers and journalists in prison.”
For further details contact Aurélia Dondo at PEN International, Koops Mill, 162-164 Abbey Street, London, SE1 2AN, UK Tel: +44 (0) 20 7405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 20 7405 0339 e-mail: Aurelia.email@example.com