Join Index on Censorship and English PEN for a vigil outside the Turkish embassy in support of Ayşe Çelik and others currently persecuted for speaking out in Turkey. This vigil is part of a global campaign launched by the Initiative for Freedom of Expression – Turkey.
Çelik, a teacher, will stand trial beginning on Friday, accused of “promoting terrorist organisation propaganda” after she called in to a popular television entertainment show to plead for more media coverage of abuse and killings of civilians in Diyarbakir, south-east Turkey.
Thirty-one people who co-signed Çelik’s statement will also be tried alongside her. They all face more than seven years in prison if found guilty.
Index on Censorship stands with Ayşe Çelik and will not ignore this breach of her basic right to freedom of expression. We denounce the current crackdown undertaken by authorities in Turkey and call for the immediate and unconditional release of imprisoned writers Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Asli Erdogan and Necmiye Alpay.
We will be outside the Turkish embassy from 2pm to 3pm.
Here is the full statement that landed Çelik in court:
Are you aware of what’s going on in Southeast Turkey? Unborn children, mothers, people are being killed here. As a performer, as a human being you should not remain silent to what’s happening. You should say stop. I want to say one more thing. There are miserable people who are glad to hear that children are dying. We, more correctly I, cannot say anything to these people, but shame on you. I’m sorry I want to say one more thing. I’m a teacher and I’m asking all teachers (who fled the area): How will they ever go back to these places? How will they look at those innocent children’s faces and into their eyes? I can’t speak really. The things happening here are reflected so differently on TV screens or on the media. Don’t remain silent. As a human being, have a sensitive approach. See, hear and lend a hand to us. It’s a pity, don’t let those people, those children die; don’t let the mothers cry anymore. I can’t even speak over the sounds of the bombs and bullets. People are struggling with starvation and thirst, babies and children too. Don’t remain silent.
When: Friday 23 September 2pm
Where: 43 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8PA (Map)