Turkey: Open letter to President Erdogan

Dear President Erdoğan

As writers, journalists and members of PEN, we are writing to express our extreme concern about the current crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey.

Last week, VICE News’ team was detained in Turkey while reporting in the south-east. Three members of the team were charged with ‘working on behalf of a terrorist organisation’ on 31 August. British journalist Jake Hanrahan and cameraman Philip Pendlebury were released on 3 September after six days in detention but we remain seriously concerned about their colleague Mohammed Ismael Rasool who is still detained.

On 1 September, Turkish police raided the offices of Koza İpek Media group.

We recognise that Turkey is facing a period of heightened tension. However at such a time it is more important than ever that both domestic and international journalists are allowed to do their vital work without intimidation, reporting on matters of global interest and concern.

A member of the Council of Europe, Turkey is a state party to both the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is therefore obliged to respect the right to freedom of expression and ensure that journalists are free to gather information without hindrance or threat.

Turkey’s routine use of counter-terrorism legislation against the media is a longstanding cause of concern for PEN. We urge you to allow the media in Turkey to report fully and freely on events and to release all journalists held solely for the peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression.


Dr. Syeda Aireen Jaman Secretary General, PEN Bangladesh

Monica Ali

Gabrielle Alioth, PEN Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad

Hanan Al-Shaykh

Apoorvanand, PEN Delhi

Cinta Arasa, PEN Català

Carme Arenas, President, PEN Català

Jiro Asada, President, PEN Japan

Frankie Asare-Donkoh, Ghanaian PEN Centre

Jutta Birmele, PEN Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad

Marian Botsford Fraser, Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee

William Boyd

Breyten Breytenbach, PEN Afrikaans

Drew Campbell, President, Scottish PEN

Magda Carneci, President, PEN Romania

Daniel Cil Brecher, PEN Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad

Jennifer Clement, President, PEN Mexico

Robert Cottrell

Antonio Della Rocca, President, PEN Trieste

Moris Farhi MBE

Maureen Freely, President, English PEN

Rita Gracián, PEN Guadalajara

Sebastiano Grasso, President, Italian Pen Club

Gloria Guardia, Vice President, PEN International

Josef Haslinger, German PEN

Jozef Heriban, President, Slovak PEN Centre

Eva Hoffman

Deborah Horn-Botha, PEN South Africa

Philo Ikonya, PEN Kenya/ PEN Club Austria

Sirpa Kähkönen, President, Finnish PEN

Kätlin Kaldmaa, President, PEN Estonia

Lucina Kathmann, Vice President, PEN International

Freya Klier, PEN Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad

Hanif Kureishi

Ola Larsmo, President, Swedish PEN

Joanne Leedom-Ackerman

Leena Lehtolainen, Finnish PEN

Chiara Macconi, PEN Esperanto

Frank Mackay Anim-Appiah, President, Ghanaian PEN

Mohamed Magani

Rishi Majumder, PEN Delhi

Danie Marais, PEN Afrikaans

Yann Martel

Pauline Melville

Blake Morrison

Hege Newth Nouri, Secretary General, Norwegian PEN

Katharine Norbury

Mohammad Nurul Huda, PEN Bangladesh

William Nygaard, President, Norwegian PEN

Hans-Christian Oeser, PEN Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad

Vida Ognjenovic, President, Serbian PEN Centre

Per Øhrgaard, Danish PEN

Sofi Oksanen, Finnish PEN

Margie Orford, President, PEN South Africa

Erol Özkoray

Nasser Pejman, International Secretary, Iranian PEN in Exile

Tone Peršak, President, Writers for Peace Committee

Professor Imran Rahman, PEN Bangladesh

Baharam Rahmani, President, Iranian PEN in Exile.

John Ralston Saul, President, PEN International

Andrea Reiter, PEN Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad

Mille Rode, Danish PEN

Raffaella Salierno, PEN Catalan

Eugene Schoulgin, Vice President, PEN International

Elif Shafak

Owen Sheers, Wales PEN Cymru

Iida Simes, Finnish PEN

Sjón, President, Icelandic PEN

Ali Smith

Guy Stern, PEN Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad

Tasleem Thawar, Executive Director, PEN Canada

Pragya Tiwari, PEN Delhi

Jarkko Tontti, Treasurer, PEN International

Carles Torner, Executive Director, PEN International

Luisa Valenzuela, PEN Argentina

Tung Van Vu, Vietnamese Abroad PEN Centre

Fred Viebahn, PEN Centre of German-Speaking Writers Abroad

Sarah Waters

About Cat Lucas

Cat Lucas is English PEN's Writers at Risk Programme Manager

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12 Comments on “Turkey: Open letter to President Erdogan”

  1. Erdogan is a Wahhabi and Islamic-Brotherhood version of Adolf Hitler . Petitions and appeals don’t work with paranoid patients.

  2. For those who study history and can see beyond the lines , is clear that Erdogan is the father of ISIS .
    Also the whole western part of Turkey is an occupied
    land that belong to Greeks. That land it’s the frontier in their heard

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