Today: Members of Kurdish PEN joined in a press conference in Kurdish capital city Amed and they call for peace, solidarity and protection of all civilians. Action was supported by PEN International.


by Roni Alasor / Lorin Sarkisian

Brussels, 23 January 2016 - Middle East Diplomatic (MED) - The organisation of worldwide writers’ PEN International and many of its member PEN centres join the Kurdish PEN in its call for peace, solidarity and protection of all civilians trapped in the besieged towns and cities of Cizire, Silopi, Sirnax, Silwan and Amed (Diarbekir) as well as protection of their fundamental right for freedom of expression.

Among the signatory PEN organisations which declare support and solidarity with Kurdish PEN for immediate end of the violence and support for the peace are: PEN International, PEN International Women Writers Committee, Writers for Peace Committee, PEN Slovenia, Slovene Centre PEN Women Writers` Committee MIRA, Women Writers’ Committee of English PEN, Basque PEN, San Miguel PEN – Mexico, Chicago Network - USA and PEN Turkey.

“Military action and warfare rarely solve conflict, which should instead be resolved by peaceful dialogue and full respect for freedom of expression. We join our Kurdish brothers and sisters in their claim for the conflict to be dealt with through negotiation and respect for human rights”, is said in the declaration of PEN International signed by President Jennifer Clement and  Executive director Carles Torner .

Lucina Kathmann, International Vice-President, PEN International, expressed her support for the intellectuals in Turkey who ask for peace, but are persecuted by the regime: “The government has called you “terrorists” and “straw intellectuals”-- just because of your opinion, which you expressed in a completely non-violent manner. Many of you have lost your jobs or have been rounded up by police. Others are in danger of this happening in the coming days. What is happening is a direct attack against freedom of expression”.

In his message, Eugene Schoulgin, Vice President of PEN International said : “To witness what is going on in Turkey now from the other side of Europe feels in an absurd way extra painful. To realize what you all who has a warm heart and a brain to think and feel with go through in these days fills me with such anger, anger and despair! After all you, Turks, Kurds, Armenians and other has gone through only again to be ruled by power intoxicated and shamelessly primitive individuals is unbearable!”.

“We are very unhappy to witness the hostilities and aggressions of the Turkish government upon the rights that are the essence of every democracy – freedom of speech, gender equality and tolerance towards the people with different political views, nationalities or religions. We are particularly saddened by the situation, in which women find themselves in these conflicts, often with children, often deprived of their basic needs, often harassed and persecuted, paying for being Kurdish with their lives. We believe literature should have the power to raise its voice and help create the world where men and women can live in peace”, is written in the letter of Slovene Centre PEN Women Writers` Committee MIRA.

Tone Peraak, chair of Writers for Peace Committee (WfPC) and member of Slovene Pen Centre, expressed support for the “brave and generous demonstration”, which Kurdish PEN is organising in Amed today and said he hopes “it could move something in the heads of Turkish political leaders”.

Elisabeth Nordgren from PEN International Women Writers Committee sent her hopes for end of the repression and attacks against freedom of expression by the Turkish regime.

Turkish PEN also joined the worldwide solidarity calls for end of the violence and peace: “We as Kurdish and Turkish writers of the Republic of Turkey demand peace immediately. We demand it Now! We demand that representatives meet at the peace table and take positive steps. We demand such steps because we choose life and not death, and because we want to live in this country as equal and free citizens. We have two options ahead: Either we will solve our issues within a pluralist parliamentarian regime or we shall all gradually lose our humanity. There is no third option. That is why we once again say “Peace, now, immediately!”

Sarah Lawson, Member of the Board of the Women Writers’ Committee of the English PEN, said: “Freedom of speech is one of the most important qualities of any democracy, and Turkey should value the opinions and advice of its intellectuals rather than persecuting the petitioners. My greatest wish is for your success in prevailing upon the Turkish government to stop its military siege of Kurdish towns and cities with its horrifying loss of life. Negotiation and dialogue must return before the situation degenerates further”.

Nick Patricca, President of the Chicago Network, stands in solidarity and hopes to “call the attention of the world to this serious assault on academic freedom and assists the cause of democracy and freedom of expression for all the peoples of Turkey”.

Judyth Hill, President, San Miguel PEN, writes: “We collectively raise our voices and act in solidarity with our Kurdish and Turkish colleagues and comrades under threat in Turkey, to put an end to this madness of war and killings and return to negotiation and dialogue to save lives and maintain peace. We, at the San Miguel PEN Centre experience these attacks on      the lives, liberties and civil rights of our Turkish and Kurdish comrades as attacks on the very fabric of Human Rights for us all, we urge that the military siege be STOPPED and peace prevail in the devastated Kurdish towns and cities in Turkey and we strongly stand in support for and solidarity with all efforts to make this so”. 

Basque PEN condemns “all unacceptable attacks, from bombing its own citizens to the harassment, arrests, and deliberate pointing from the Government and the President against writers, professors, researchers, journalist and many other language and human rights activists” and sends “warmest solidarity and commitment to support fair struggle for a free and democratic country where everyone can express freely in his/her own language, where children are being educated in their language and everyone can use it everywhere”.


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