We are writers from around the world who love, live and breathe words. We are united in our belief that freedom of expression is a universal and fundamental human right. We are gravely concerned about "the freedom of words" in Turkey. We connect both within and across borders through words, written and spoken. A free exchange of ideas is essential for democracy, as well as for creativity, empathy and tolerance. As revealed in a Pen report on last year’s protests,Turkey has many freedom of expression issues, from criminal defamation to self-censorship within the mainstream media, to police violence against journalists and a narrowing of freedom of expression on the internet.
Turkey ranks 154th among 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index. Translators, editors, publishers, poets and writers face criminal proceedings and even imprisonment for legitimate expression, under a variety of legal fetters, including the country’s draconian anti-terror law, the law on meetings and demonstrations and the Turkish penal code’s articles on defamation (article 125), religious defamation (article 216), obscenity (article 226), insulting the Turkish people, state or its organs, and promoting conscientious objection to military service (article 318).
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