Writer Yavuz Ekinci faces up to seven-and-a-half years in prison over his social media posts. The first hearing in his trial was held on 9 September. The next hearing is scheduled to take place on 11 January 2022. PEN calls on the Turkish authorities to drop all charges against Yavuz Ekinci and to stop using overbroad counter-terrorism laws to curb peaceful expression – both online and offline.
Yavuz Ekinci has been charged with ‘making terrorist propaganda’ under Article 7/1 and 2 of Anti-Terror Law No. 3713, for eight tweets published on his Twitter account in 2013 and 2014. The tweets, none of which promote or incite violence, for the most part related to the Newroz (New Year) celebrations in Diyarbakır, south-eastern Turkey, and to the battle of Kobane in Syria. The indictment comes in the wake of a sustained social media crackdown that has seen tens of thousands of people prosecuted in Turkey over their social media posts in recent years. The Ministry of Interior said it took legal action against 6,743 users in the first seven months of 2020 alone.
Yavuz Ekinci, 42, has received multiple prestigious awards for his short stories, including the 2005 Haldun Taner Award and the 2007 Yunus Nadi Award. His work focuses on the plight of Kurdish people in Turkey and has been translated into English, German, and Kurdish. He currently works as a teacher in Istanbul.
Photo: Yavuz Ekinci, credit Ege Tonbul.