We are relieved that our former writer in residence, Ahmet Şık, who was arrested following his return to Turkey in 2016, was released from prison last week, pending his trial tomorrow (16 March 2018). He has already spent 430 days in jail. On release Ahmet Sik said to his supporters
I prefer you to be frustrated because frustration will help us stand tall … today is not a day to be happy.
There are still scores of writers and journalists in prison in Turkey. Last month Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazli Ilicak were shockingly sentenced to life in prison, without parole, having been convicted of the ‘attempting to overthrow the constitutional order’. Ahmet Altan wrote from his prison cell:
I will never see the world again. I will never see a sky unframed by the walls of a courtyard.
English PEN needs your help and support to keep the plight of these writers in the public eye. The writers with whom we work tell us that our campaigning is influential within Turkey, and also crucial to their morale at this difficult time. Will you donate to our Writers at Risk programme so we can continue this valuable work?