“Accusations on Writers & Journalists are Baseless” / KCK Trials

BIANET 22-11-2013 – After observing the latest KCK trials, PEN Norway Delegation raised their concerns over the lack of evidence regarding the accusations towards journalists and writers.

After observing the latest KCK trials, PEN Norway President William Nygaard, Norwegian Authors Association President Jørgen Lorentzen, PEN Advisor Sara Whyatt held a press conference at PEN Turkey Office. 

Whyatt: We find it very concerning

“We have observed and are currently observing KCK, Ergenekon and MLKP trials. Turkey has made significant improvements regarding the freedom of expression in the past decade. We regard the new judicial reforms and removal of obstacles on Kurdish language as important steps. “Despite all, around 60 journalists and writers are currently jailed and dozens are facing trial. These writers are charged with very serious crimes including terrorism. However, evidence on these charges, like in  Büşra Ersanlı case, only consist of conference notes. As PEN, we find it very concerning.”

Nygaard: Fear environment on the media

“The Turkish government is very intolerant to criticism. There is a fear a fear environment on the media in Turkey. While there is a fear environment based on threats and pressures, it is also true that people have the impression that they might just face trials like journalists anytime. “We are not here to give recommendations to Turkey. Just like a mirror, we are here to discuss about violations on freedom of expression from human rights perspective.  “Because the fear environment and the abuse of Anti-Terror Act might trigger a decay in the society, people might end up faith in the legislations.” 

Lorentzen: Not only people, knowledge is facing trial too

“We have observed a KCK case hearing today where one of the defendants was standing trial for giving a lecture on Quantum Physics and Chaos Theory. Some of the key words from the indictment included: Copernic, Newton, Galileo, Eisten or expressions like ‘God doesn’t throw dice’”

“This indictment proves that not only people are facing trial in Turkey, but also knowledge. Newton, Einstein are facing trial too. I am afraid that this brings Turkey back to Middle Age.”

Ersanlı: Pressures on intellectuals

Büşra Ersanlı, one of the attendees of press conference, is standing trial in the KCK case as well. Reminding the situation of successful but jailed students within the trial, she said the following: “Considering the context in Gezi Resistance, the government is obviously putting pressure on intellectuals”.