PEN Turkey Centre’s Statement on Freedom of Press- On the occasion of the Cumhuriyet Writers Trial

Today is July 24th. We are celebrating  with great joy and happiness!  24 July  is the anniversary of the  abolition  of censorship in Turkey, in 1908, (after, in the pre-republican era, the Ottoman Sultan had been forced to re-open parliament) . Since then for 109 years,  we have been celebrating this date  as the "Day of Journalists and Press Freedom"  in the freest country of the world.

No matter what their opinions are and which newspapers they write for, our journalists are free to think and express themselves: they freely do research, they question freely , talk freely , write freely , criticize freely, comment freely , discuss  freely –without even the slightest negative reaction from the authorities, feeling under no pressure what so ever , without any official or unofficial threats.

July 24th is also the "Day of Struggle for Freedom of the Press in Turkey"; so today some of our journalists celebrate this holiday outdoors, while some of them are hosted indoors  (locked indoors and behind bars) so that they can rest and relax. Especially those who had been working the hardest are hosted, and they express their gratitude to the authorities. The whole world is in awe, deeply impressed by this hospitality. To our international friends, we need to stress the fact that it is a matter of taking turns, not a matter of unequal treatment. Besides, what difference does it make –outdoors or indoors!

As PEN Turkey Centre, we joyfully celebrate this holiday of our free press and wish for many more happy anniversaries in unity.

PEN Turkey Centre
24 July 2017