Writers’ association head, delegation visit Silivri jail to show solidarity with arrested Turkish writers

Writers’ association head, delegation visit Silivri jail to show solidarity with arrested Turkish writers

Banu Tuna - ISTANBUL
Writers’ association head, delegation visit Silivri jail to show solidarity with arrested Turkish writers

A huge delegation from PEN International, an international association working for writers, came to Turkey on Jan. 28 to visit Istanbul’s Silivri jail, where around 135 writers and journalists are behind bars, but were prevented from doing so by authorities.

The delegation, headed by PEN President Jennifer Clement, came in an effort to show solidarity and voice concerns about the writers and journalists’ arrest and conditions in captivity. 

The members of the delegation said they had been waiting in front of jails “for 100 years.” 

“We are free and they are behind the walls. This is a way of solidarity with those behind the walls for us,” said Clement, a Mexican-American who became the first woman president of the association. 

Clement said their association was one of the first international groups to decry the July 2016 coup and stand with the Turkish people.

“We believe in peace and democracy, not violence. But what concerns us is the fact that the emergency measures have become unacceptable. The way the courts operate, the treatment shown to the arrested is not acceptable. Therefore we are in Turkey,” said Clement.