Letter to the Turkish Minister of Justice concerning Orhan Pamuk (September 2005)


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London, Munich
September 28th, 2005

The Minister of Justice,
Dear Sir,

The European Writers Congress is the federation of 55 writers' organisations covering the whole of Europe, an accredited NGO to WIPO and the European Commission. Ever since 1977 the Turkish Writers' Union – as a founding member of the EWC – has been a valued and respected member, and our constituent organisations, as well as the Board, have the greatest admiration for the great contribution of Turkish culture to the history of civilisation, science and the arts.

We are therefore deeply saddened and disturbed to see accounts in the world press of the continued prosecution of the distinguished, and internationally admired, writer Orhan Pamuk who, we understand, is to be tried on December 6th for the alleged crime of denigrating the Turkish Republic.

At this time when Turkey and the European Union are actively negotiating Turkey's eventual admission to the EU, it would seem more than ever vital that Turkey should be seen to adhere to those principles of freedom of expression enshrined in the Universal and European Declarations on Human Rights and therefore an irrevocable condition of entry to the EU.

We respectfully but most strongly urge you to reconsider the continuation of the case brought against Mr Pamuk which cannot redound to Turkey's credit and must indeed impede her acceptance into the European family.

We therefore hope that we may be able to reassure our members, and all our many contacts throughout Europe that the prosecution has been withdrawn, and Turkey's implementation of the essential principle of freedom of expression is beyond question. If there is any way in which our organisation can help to facilitate this process, we are at your service.

With the deepest respect
Yours truly,

Maureen Duffy

Lore Schultz-Wild
General Secretary