8th Gathering

At the opening address a proclamation was read signed by 8 international and 22 national institutions from 5 continents. Then for International PEN Eugene Schoulgin, writer, Vice President; for IPA...
9 Haziran 2012

At the opening address a proclamation was read signed by 8 international and 22 national institutions from 5 continents.
Then for International PEN Eugene Schoulgin, writer, Vice President; for IPA publisher William Nygaard; for Human Rights Watch, reporter on Turkey, Emma Sinclair Webb; and for Amnesty International, Andrew Gardner, reporter on Turkey presented their opening speeches. (Texts will be placed at our site as they are translated.)
During the full day meeting, presented by Ms. Çağlar Çabuk, four forums on different aspects of freedom of expression took part.
Counselor Hüsnü Öndül, representative of HRJP was the moderator at Freedom of Expression in Turkey forum where Mazlumder Gen. Sec. Üstün Bol, İHD Cent. Exec. Com. member Gülseren Yoleri, and TİHV representative Coşkun Üsterci were the participants.
Nadire Mater, founder of Bianet was moderator at Freedom of Expression in the Media forum whereTurkey Journalists Guild president Orhan Erinç and Turkey Journalists Union President Ercan İpekçi were participants while Star Newspaper Editor in ChiefMehmet Ocaktan’s seat stayed unoccupied.
The third forum, Freedom of Expression in Arts, Literature and Publishings, moderator was Turkey Publishers Guild representative Hayri Erdoğan where Orhan Alkaya (İstanbul City Theatre former Art Director), cons. Sabri Kuşkonmaz (PEN Turkey), and Cemal Uşak (Journalists and Writers Fund vice pres.) spoke.
The fourth forum, Freedom of Expression in the Constitution and During the Drafting Process, moderator was Prof. Dr.Turgut Tarhanlı (Bilgi University). Participants were Couns. Hüsnü Tuna (Barristers Asso. former president, 23rd term Konya MP),Prof. Dr. Yaman Akdeniz (Bilgi University), and Couns. Fikret İlkiz (İstanbul Bar)
Before every forum videos of the general view on the subject were seen, and the attestors Couns. İsmail Cem Halavurt (Hrant Dink case), Gülten Aslan (Mor Çatı, violence directed at women), Esmeray (LGBT issues), Nedim Şener (his book), Mahmut Alınak (his articles/daughter Belga Alınak), Evrim Kepenek (Gündem/Azadiya Welat/DİHA-supression of the Kurdish media)Ahmet Şık (his book,İmam’ın Ordusu) Ragıp Zarakolu (KCK defendant, publisher), Pınar Aydınlar (her folk song interpretations) Couns. Davut Erkan (Consciencious Objector), Abdullah Demirbaş (Sur Mayor, mother tongue), Pınar Selek (Justice!?) spoke about their experiences.
The panorama painted by the speakers’ and attestors’ testimonials justifies the concerns voiced by the international declaration: freedom of expression is still being violated unfortunately, by a PM who had been a victim of “criminal thoughts” himself in the past and whose freedom of expression rights were supported by most of those he has victimized today by his direct orders or filing cases personally.
Then came the international connections. First Halid El-Hammadi, whom we have hosted by Norway PEN backing, talked about the situation in Yemen and conveyed the anticipation for international solidarity and support. Later the visual conference calls on line started.
Prof. Noam Chomsky, author Paul Auster; Nobel Prize winner, Australian writer of South African origins John Coetzee; British writer, film producer, and activist of Paskistani origins Tarık Ali; Mexican journalist-writer living under death threats for fighting against the drug cartels, Lydia Cacho; our initiative and Bianet which are its members, IFEX, International Freedom of Expression Exchange network, CEO Annie Game, another Freedom of Expression institution Article 19 representative Nathalie Losekoot and Freedom House (Peace House-Washington) representative Karin D. Karlekar visually were with us. Mostly live at the moment but forthose who were unable to connect successfully we used the recorded practice runs, thus their messages reached the audience.
Gathering was also transmitted live on the website of “Güvercinler Meclisi/Pigeons Parliament and viewed by over 1.700 people.
The 9th İstanbul Gathering for the Freedom of Expression will be held on 24-25 of May 2014. We are once again proposing the hosting to be done by the Greater City Council, which is the elected authority of this city, not from time to time, not conditionally, but permanently as this gathering has become an international entity whether we wished it or not.