Turkey experiences an increased sidestepping of the freedom of speech, writes Swedish PEN’s Dissident Blog which has published a theme issue with 12 texts about Turkey, including a short play, entitled ‘Forbidden Chirping’, by artist and poet Yeşim Ağaoğlu.
Yeşim Ağaoğlu belongs to the new generation of leading artists and poets in Turkey who are calling out to do something about it, using humour to show what is unrolling in her native country, Turkey, explains The Dissident Blog.
“Turkey has now surpassed both Iran and China as the one country in the world that is holding the most journalists and writers imprisoned. Vaguely phrased anti-terrorist laws make it possible for the government to stifle critical voices from all spheres of society,” wrote Publisher and Associated Editor Ola Larsmo and Editor Elnaz Baghlanian in a press release announce the publication of a theme issue of the blog, consisting of 12 texts which present recent political developments in the Turkey.
“People whose voices we share here have paid a high price for maintaining the struggle to both reveal and to discuss the Turkish regime’s lack of respect for democracy and for the freedom of speech,” they write.
In his introductory note on the blog, Ola Larsmo writes:
“It is therefore of vital importance that we understand how the movement towards democracy in Turkey is being threatened. Those who are best at explaining the situation are of course the country’s own authors and writers. In this issue of the Dissident Blog we have tried to collect a spectra of different perspectives on the situation in Turkey: from Muhsin Kizilkaya’s eagle-eyed overview of the modern history of the freedom of speech in the country to the young film director Mizgin Müjde Arslan’s own testimony of the consequences of dealing with sensitive topics in film.”
Swedish PEN’s Dissident Blog presents texts that can neither be written nor published in the writers’ own countries. It wants to give these texts both a Swedish and an international audience, functioning as a link between writers in crisis zones and the established media. Since 2011 the blog has been udpated regularly by Swedish PEN with the support of SIDA and the Swedish Arts Council.
The Dissident Blog – 8 January 2013: