PEN Turkey gives prize to scribes behind bars

PEN Turkey gives prize to scribes behind bars

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
PEN Turkey gives prize to scribes behind bars

Professor Büşra Ersanlı has been in jail in Istanbul since October 2011 due to her alleged connections to KCK. DHA photo

The Turkish branch of PEN International, a prominent worldwide authors’ association, granted a prize to Professor Büşra Ersanlı and Ayşe Berktay, who are both currently under arrest within the scope of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) trials.

“They will be released, not freed, because none of us can really be free in this country in a true sense. All the awards we grant represent a contribution to the struggle for democracy waged by aggrieved intellectuals,” Tarık Günersel, the head of PEN Turkey, told the Hürriyet Daily News.

 Both Ersanlı and Berktay were arrested and placed behind bars last year.“The presence of our intellectuals represents a source of pride for Turkey. [The fact] that they are under arrest like many other intellectuals also constitutes an inexplicable source of embarrassment with regard to democracy,” said Günersel.The award ceremony will not take place until the authorities release Berktay and Ersanlı from jail, he added.

Turkey, journalists