Writers in Prison

Writers in Prison - Omer Asan

International PEN currently has on its records more than 70 Turks facing judicial proceedings solely for their writing. Pontos Kulturu ("The Culture of the Pontus", Istanbul, 1996), the acclaimed anthropological, cultural and linguistic study by the largely self-taught Omer Asan, was banned on 21 January 2002. This followed television accusations that Asan was a traitor, working not only for the Greeks, but also for the Kurdish PKK party, banned in Turkey. Asan and his publisher were brought before the State Security Court; that hearing resulted in the case being referred to a civil court, where their trial is pending. The Writers' Association in Turkey is campaigning on Asan's behalf, and leading British writers including David Lodge and Ian McEwan have signed English PEN's petition to the Turkish prime minister. Appeals on Asan's behalf should be sent to:

Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit
Basbakanlik, Cankaya
Ankara, Turkey

Val Warner is a member of English PEN's Writers in Prison Committee