World intellectuals express concern over freedom of speech in Turkey

June 15, 2012, Friday/ 17:32:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

International journalists, writers, publishers and human rights defenders who came together last weekend in İstanbul for the “Freedom of Expression” forum have raised concerns about the issue in Turkey and released a declaration.

At the eighth gathering on June 9 at Bilgi University, a proclamation was read and signed by nine international and 22 national institutions from five continents. The document read: “We worry about and protest the existence of the barriers on freedom of expression in Turkey and the cases, arrest and imprisonment of journalists, writers, publishers, academia, students, artists, unionists, politicians and anybody who express their ideas in non-violent ways.

“It makes us sorry to see Turkey's name on the list of the countries where freedom of expression is being violated. We ask Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan -- who was a prisoner of conscience whom we supported in the past -- and his government, to end this situation and wish to see Turkey as a model of freedom of expression for its neighbours, the region, as well as the whole world.”

The institutional signatories are: Amnesty International, London; Article 19, London; Freedom House, Washington; Human Rights Watch, Washington; Index on Censorship, London; International Publishers Association, Genéve; PEN International, London; Reporters Sans Frontiéres, Paris; and the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters, Montreal.



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