The IPA was among 400 donors of more than €16,000 raised in four days to fund full-page solidarity ads in Turkish news media expressing unity with the country’s oppressed writers, publishers, journalists and academics ahead of a crucial constitutional referendum, on April 16.
The English translation of the ad, which will appear in a range of print and online media, including Agos Weekly, BirGün, Cumhuriyet, Diken.com.tr, Evrensel and TuruncuTime just before a major Turkish referendum, reads:
We observe with great concern that the Turkish government is distancing distances ever further from the fundamental values of free society. The separation of powers, equal opportunities for all political parties and, last but not least, every citizen’s right to express and disseminate his or her opinion freely are requirements for the success of free and democratic society. We know that many of you stand for these values.
We see that many of you are living through hard times. As authors, publishers, journalists, booksellers, artists, lawyers, judges, academics and civilians, you are confronted with incredible accusations, repressions and acts of violence that defy the rule of law.
With this ad, we would like to express our solidarity with you. We are thinking of you and hope that Turkey remains a part of our common community of values.
The campaign was led by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association (Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels) under its ongoing #FreeWordsTurkey initiative, of which the IPA is also a supporter. Besides the IPA, it was supported by a range of individual donors and organizations, including the Federal Association of German Newspaper Publishers, the Swiss Booksellers and Publishers Association (SBVV), the Writers-in-Prison Committee of PEN Austria and the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF).
Börsenverein Managing Director Alexander Skipis said in a media release: ‘Authors and journalists are subjected to reprisals, persecuted and imprisoned, media companies and publishers pressured. This is a clear sign that Turkey is on its way to becoming a totalitarian state. Nothing scares despots more than the free word; with these ads we want to show our solidarity and at the same time exercise freedom of expression.’