PEN International calls for solidarity with jailed journalist Nedim Türfent

17 December 2018
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Writers’ group organizes solidarity campaign for jailed Kurdish journalist

PEN International has launched a solidarity campaign for journalist Nedim Türfent, who was convicted on terror charges in late 2017 after publishing a video that embarrassed state security forces.  

The organization, which supports writers from all over the world, included a poem written by the journalist in his prison cell. 

PEN International called for the immediate and unconditional release of Türfent, addressing the Justice Ministry and Foreign Affairs Ministry. PEN also asked its member organizations to consider making Türfent an honorary member.

Türfent’s response, which was received through Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) lawyers, was also included in the call: ‘No matter what the price or consequence might be, we will never compromise from the magical creations of writing and of the written word. We would like to repeat once again our gratitude to PEN members, who have stood by us on this path. We will create beautiful things as we continue to be together. Efforts by PEN make us happy, boost our morale. We are grateful’.

PEN also published an extract from one of Türfent’s poems, in English, French and Spanish.

Türfent, defended by MLSA’s Legal Unit, used to work as a reporter for the now-shuttered pro-Kurdish Dicle News Agency (DİHA). He was arrested in the eastern province of Van on 13 May 2016 after he published a video showing maltreatment of civilians in Yüksekova, Hakkari by Special Operations officers during security operations in the region which allegedly claimed many civilian lives. 

Background on Türfent’s case

Türfent’s indictment which was prepared after he spent 10 months in pre-trial detention, consisted of his social media posts and 20 anonymous witness statements, accusing him of ‘membership in a terrorist organization’ and ‘terrorist propaganda’. The Court sentenced him to eight years and nine months in prison, on 15 December 2017, the decision was upheld by an Appeals Court in June 2018.

The original campaign can be viewed here: https://pen-international.org/news/turkey-free-nedim-turfent