Turkey’s State of Emergency

Scottish PEN’s own letter protesting about the situation was handed into the Turkish consulate in Edinburgh on Tuesday 15th November. It was signed by many of Scotland’s best known writers and publishers, including Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Alexander McCall Smith.

PEN International has voiced their concern about the current State of Emergency in Turkey and how authorities may be abusing it to silence dissenting voices. Read their full statement here.

As of 1 August, arrest warrants have been issued for 42 journalists (a full list is available here) in addition to 47 former employees of Zaman newspaper. Three news agencies, 16 TV channels, 23 radio stations, 45 papers, 15 magazines and 29 publishers have been ordered shut.

PEN International is urging people to take action. Share this information widely on social media, and write appeals to the Turkish authorities:

Scottish PEN’s own letter protesting about the situation was handed into the Turkish consulate in Edinburgh on Tuesday 15th November. It was signed by many of Scotland’s best known writers and publishers. Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Alexander McCall Smith and the board of Scottish PEN are among the signatories. Read The Herald article about it here:


The full text of the letter follows. Please feel free to print it out or to paste it into an email. President Erdogan’s email address is below:

Dear President Erdogan,

Scottish PEN calls on you to protect free expression in Turkey.

Writers, journalists and the executive committee of Scottish PEN are writing to you today to express our concern about the continued clampdown on free expression taking place in Turkey following the attempted coup earlier this year.

While every country retains the right to protect itself against violence and unlawful activities, that right should not be used as an excuse to stifle dissent, target civil society and divide the people of Turkey. Free expression, whether from academics, writers, journalists, artists, educators or civil society more broadly is not a crime.

Reports allege that more than 37000 people, including 150 journalists and writers have been imprisoned; over 200 media outlets and publishing houses, alongside 100 universities and hospitals have been closed down; while approximately 100000 teachers, academics and civil servants have been expelled. These are not the actions of a progressive democracy and we hope you will represent the will and desire of the Turkish people by ceasing all actions targeting civil society and reaffirming your support for free expression. This would represent the bold and visionary leadership, your country and region requires at this challenging time.

Today is the International Day of the Imprisoned Writer. What better day for Turkey, as a member of the Council of Europe and a state party to both the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to honour your commitments to free expression by releasing all imprisoned members of civil society, whose only crimes were those of self-expression? The rule of law and the full realisation of fundamental freedoms are the most powerful tools at your disposal to protect Turkey and address uncertainty and instability.

We hope you will take this letter under advisement and look to release all imprisoned writers and members of Turkish civil society and look to repeal the actions that have stifled debate across the country.

We look forward to hearing from you.



Email: receptayyip.erdogan@basbakanlik.gov.tr
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RecepTayyipErdogan
Twitter: @RT_Erdogan

And copy to the Embassy of Turkey in your country. You can find embassy addresses here.

The full list of signatories is below:

67dac432 (14)

Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin

Alexander McCall Smith

Val McDermid

Carl Macdougall, newly elected president of Scottish PEN

Zoe Wicomb, winner of Windham Campbell award

Drew Campbell, former president of Scottish PEN, now on Board

Karen Campbell

Regi Claire

Regi Claire

Elizabeth Reeder, Scottish PEN Board

David Manderson, Scottish PEN Board

Robin Lloyd-Jones, former president of Scottish PEN, now Writers at Risk committee (Writers at Risk)

67dac432 (13)

James Robertson

James Robertson

Jenni Calder, former president of Scottish PEN, now on Board

Regi Claire, WAR committee

Fiona Morrison Graham, Scottish PEN Board

Jane Archer, Writers at Risk committee

Margaret Anderson, Writers at Risk committee

Ian Macpherson

Mandy Haggith

Beatrice Colin, University of Strathclyde

Jean Rafferty, Writers at Risk committee and Scottish PEN Board

Portrait of Mario Relich, Secretary, Scottish PEN

Mario Relich

Asif Khan, director of Scottish Poetry Library

Mario Relich, Scottish PEN Board

Ian Crockatt, Scottish PEN Board

Kathleen Jamie

A C Clarke 2015


AC Clarke

Liz Niven, Scottish PEN Board

Chrys Salt MBE, The Bakehouse

Professor Bashabi Fraser, Scottish PEN Board

Lady Joyce Kaplan, Scottish PEN Board

Marjorie Lotfi Gill

Magi Gibson

Ruby McCann, Scottish Writers’ Centre

Marc Sherland, Scottish Association of Writers

Finola Scott, Federation of Writers

Sara Hunt, Saraband

Francis Bickmore and Jenny Todd, Canongate

Zoe Wicomb

Zoe Wicomb

Allan Cameron, Vagabond Voices, Scottish PEN Board

Stewart Macdonald, MP for Glasgow South

Dorothy-Grace Elder, former winner of British Press Awards

Zoe Wicomb

Ron Butlin

Christina Neuwirth, Scottish PEN Project Manager

Nik Williams, Scottish PEN Policy Advisor