Ms. Merkel, Mr. Juncker: Call for freedom of expression in Turkey! #FreeWordsTurkey

A petition for freedom of expression, information and press by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association, PEN Centre Germany and Reporters Without Borders Germany.

Freedom of expression is in acute danger in Turkey. Since the coup attempt in July 2016, Turkish authorities have taken large-scale action against journalists and media outlets critical of the government. This development exacerbates the already tense situation for Turkish media. Journalists have had their passports revoked, authors have been detained, over 130 media companies have been closed. Among them are 29 publishing companies, which have also been expropriated. Today, a sense of alarm and fear for one’s own existence are widespread among journalists and publishers there.

Freedom of expression is being trampled on in Turkey. The freedom to form and express an opinion is a non-negotiable human right. Indeed, freedom of expression, information and the press are the foundation of a free and democratic society. We urge Germany’s federal government and the EU Commission to adopt a clear and resolute position on the current state of freedom of expression in Turkey. We also urge these two bodies to call for an uncompromising respect for freedom of expression in any related decisions, actions and statements they make. It should not be negotiable. When freedom of expression comes under attack and is subject to massive restrictions in Turkey and other countries throughout the world, the German federal government and the EU Commission are obliged to re-evaluate their policies with regard to the countries in question. Germany is also obliged to provide quick aid to those journalists and authors affected by restrictions to freedom of expression, for instance by issuing non-bureaucratic emergency visa.

Journalists, authors and publishers, books, newspapers and magazines make an essential contribution to democracy and freedom. For this reason, we are resolutely committed to supporting freedom of expression, information and the press. We urge you to support our petition and join us in advocating basic human rights! Free the words!

German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels e.V.), PEN Centre Germany (PEN-Zentrum Deutschland e.V.), Reporters Without Borders Germany (Reporter ohne Grenzen e.V.).

This petition will be delivered to:

Chancellor Federal Republic Germany
Angela Merkel

President EU-Commission
Jean-Claude Juncker

Sign the petition here