PEN International expresses grave concern at the arrest and detention of Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel, who was charged on 27 February 2017 with incitement to hatred and making propaganda in support of a terrorist organization. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
PEN International fears that Deniz Yücel is being punished for his articles on corruption as well as the ongoing conflict in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast of Turkey. The organisation calls on the Turkish authorities to release him immediately.
Please send appeals to the Turkish authorities:
Please send appeals reiterating PEN’s calls to:
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Tel : (+90 312) 525 55 55
Fax : (+90 312) 525 58 31
Please copy your appeals to the Embassy of Turkey in your country. A list of embassies can be found here.
Deniz Yücel is a Turkish-German journalist who works for the German newspaper Die Welt. After studying Political Science at the Free University of Berlin, Yücel began his career as a journalist in 1999 with the Jungle World leftist weekly before joining the Die Tageszeitung newspaper in 2007. He has been working with Die Welt since 2015. Yücel is a recipient of the 2011 Kurt Tucholsky Literary Publication award and is the author of Everywhere is Taksim, a book published after the Gezi Park protests of 2014, when peaceful demonstrations organised through social media were harshly repressed.
Yücel was detained on 14 February 2017 and held for thirteen days before being charged with incitement to hatred and making propaganda for a terrorist organisation under Article 216 and Article 220 (8) of Turkey’s Penal Code. A date for his trial hearing has yet to be set.
Since the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016, the Turkish authorities have cracked down on writers, journalists, media organisations, publishing houses, the judiciary and political opponents, resulting in a near total silencing of critical voices.
Over 180 news outlets have been shut down under laws passed by presidential decree following the imposition of a state of emergency. There are now at least 148 writers and journalists in prison, making Turkey the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The arrest of Deniz Yücel, a German citizen, marks an alarming new chapter in Turkey’s assault on freedom of expression.
While recognizing the right of the Turkish authorities to bring those responsible for crimes committed during the attempted coup of 15 July 2016 to justice, PEN International calls on the Turkish authorities to safeguard freedom of expression, human rights and respect their obligations under international law during the declared state of emergency and to release all journalists and writers held solely in connection with their peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression.