PEN Turkey Duygu Asena Award goes to Saturday Mothers

Since 1995, mothers of hundreds of "lost" progressive youngsters had been meeting in Istanbul every Saturday -till, when the number of silent gatherings reached 700 in October 2018, the authorities put an end to their peaceful meetings.  Since the silent 'sitting' protests with photos in Galatasaray on the Istiklal Street near the Taksim Square is no longer possible, each Saturday a symbolic press release is announced in front of the Human Rights Association in that district, repeating the same rightful demand: "The Saturday Mothers" ("Cumartesi Anneleri" in Turkish) expect official information about their children who were "lost" under custody.

Come on younsters, "İlkyaz/Early Summer" is waiting for you!

“İlkyaz/Early Summer”, founded with the support of International PEN, has started publication. It is a platform to publish poems and stories by writers and poets under 35 years.

Ege Dündar, the founder and coordinator of the project, states the goal of “İlkyaz” as such: “İlkyaz is a platform established both to exhibit and to nourish the imagination of writers under 35. Meaning, our subjeçt is literature. Our job is to share. It’s a valuable common ground where we can cheer up by staying away from disintegration at a time when lack of communication is running rampant.

"Saturday Mothers"

On 25 August Saturday;  The Istanbul police have broken up the 700th weekly vigil by  "Saturday Mothers"  the  mothers demanding accountability for "disappearances"  of their beloved ones  since decades. Tear gas was fired and dozens were detained while defying a protest ban.

 On Sunday 25.08.2018  PEN Turkey made this declaration:

PEN TURKEY declares: "Don' be scared of mothers!"

They are those who heed the calls to "find me mother!"... They are those  who seek justice... They are those who want to find a trace, or at least   the bones of their children who disappeared since 1995 in the hands of police brutality and  secret forces...                                        2 days ago                                                                                              2 years ago

We condemn this attack on the peaceful 700th demonstration of those "Saturday mothers"; on writers, artists who support them;  the hatred vested on journalists who try to do their jobs....                                                                                                                                            

In full awareness that this  violence and rage is a manifestation of impotent injustice, we reiterate our plea to all  relevant authorities to opt for commonsense and cry out once more: "Do not be scared of mothers!"                      


PEN Turkey Duygu Asena Women's Rights Award goes to the esteemed lawyer Nazan Moroğlu:


PEN Turkey Women's Rights Award in the name of the late feminist novelist and journalist Duygu Asena has been presented to the activist lawyer Mrs. Nazan Moroğlu, who is also an author and academic. Hosted by Goethe Institute in Istanbul, the award ceremony gave a chance to exchange views on the present situation in Turkey in a global context. PEN Int'l Declaration on Women's Rights was mentioned as a vital contribution.

(Group photo: author Zeynep Göğüş, PEN Turkey President Zeynep Oral, award recipient Nazan Moroğlu, poet Inci Asena -Duygu Asena's sister, with film critic and translator Sevin Okyay, Tarık Günersel, short story writer and General Secretary Tülin Dursun, and Vice-President Halil Ibrahim Özcan.)

Greetings and News from PEN Turkey Centre -wishing a fruitful year

Dear PEN Int'l Board led by our Int’l President and friend Jennifer Clement,  former -but always concerned- PEN Int’l President John Ralston Saul, Int’l Vice Presidents each of who is a unique leader, Int’l PEN Int’l Secretary Kätlin Kaldmaa, who combines joy with depth, sister PEN Centres that illuminate these dark times with their members and solidarity,
devoted Int’l Chairs of our four committees, Network volunteers –idealist realists, and, last but not least,  our hard-working PEN Int’l Staff led by poet Carles Torner,
Dear Friends,

We are glad to announce that the Congress of PEN Turkey Centre was held on January 6th, 2018, and all but one member were re-elected

From Prison to Prix Voltaire

Turhan Günay  was one of the journalists  of Cumhuriyet  who was arrested and put to prison  after the July  2016  coup attempt.  One among more then 150 journalists who are still in prison  ...He was the  executives  at Cumhuriyet Books, and editorial director of the Cumhuriyet Book Supplement .

After 9 months of  prison he was released  last week.   Yesterday it was announced that  Publisher Turhan Günay and publishing house Evrensel, both from Turkey, have been named joint recipients of the 2017 International Publishers Association (IPA) prize for courage in upholding the freedom to publish, the IPA Prix Voltaire.

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.

PEN Turkey Centre declares : “Without Justice”

On these days, under these present circumstances, as PEN Association of  Writers of Turkey, we need to re-emphasize and declare to the public that:

Lack of Justice means the end of the world has already come.
Lack of Justice means no ties have survived that could have kept society together.
Where there is no Justice, summers are not beautiful, fruits are not delicious.
Where there is no Justice, songs are considered to be lies -and poems fake.
In a land without Justice, there can be neither pride about the past nor confidence in a bright future.
A day without Justice is felt to last as long as a century.
Nature abandons the world if it is without Justice; trees die, waters dry up, birds cease  singing.
Cruelty reigns in a place without Justice; there is injustice, evil.
Only if there is Justice can there be civilization –with honour, pride, history; only there can there be humanity.

If there is no Justice, then there is nothing.      
PEN Turkey Centre -15 June 2017

PEN Turkey: Democracy against all sorts of coup d’etats!

Democracy is the most natural right of the citizens of the Republic of Turkey. Natural: i.e. like water, like air, like love, like freedom. A human being wants to experience them all thoroughly. One wants to live as a human, with one’s land, environment, universe. Democracy is our love that we have not managed to embrace at all. Whenever we tend to believe that we have finally embraced it, we realize that its eyes are covered and we are hand-cuffed in dungeons.
The people of Turkey did show, on July 15th last year, that coups were not fate. Against those who attempted a coup d’etat, they proved that they could defend the homeland, the democratic system, the parliamentary regime. That resistance was the greatest guarantee against further coup attempts. But there is one way to strengthen the quarantee: Democracy; by not misusing the coup attempt as an excuse for more oppression and violence, by never giving up justice, rights and law; by respecting the separation of powers.
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