Wor(l)ds in Danger
Life is words in action, literature is action in words.

Humans are about to destroy their spaceship Earth. Some of them are aware of this and they try to change the course of events. Will they succeed? Will more humans be alarmed and do something?

Literature is vital and translators are messengers of world peace.

Though I shall focus on the literary scene in Turkey and its problems regarding freedom of expression, I shall not omit the other parts of our planet. Today local is global and vice versa.
Tarık Günersel is a poet, playwright, aphorist, librettist and short story writer. He is the president of PEN Turkey and an ex-member of the PEN International Board. He studied English Literature at Istanbul University. A self-exile after the military coup in 1980, he spent four years in Saudi Arabia with his wife Füsun and their daughter Barış, teaching English. A dramaturg at Istanbul City Theater since 1991, he has acted on stage and screen and directed some of his plays. He proposed World Poetry Day in 1997 which was accepted by PEN International and declared by UNESCO as the 21st of March. His translations into Turkish include works by Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Arthur Miller. His works include The Nightmare of a Labyrinth (mosaic of poems and stories), and How's your slavery goin'? His Oluşmak (To Become), a "life guide for myself," includes ideas from world wisdom of the past four millennia. He has recently initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the support of several intellectuals from various parts of the planet.
  • Yusuf Has Hajib
    Knowledge for Happiness

    Tarık Günersel’s selected, paraphrased, and recomposed ideas from Kutadgu Bilig / Knowledge For Happiness, a 6500 couplet work written by the Uyghur thinker Yusuf Khass Hajib in 1070.

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  • Tarık Günersel with his grandson
    Letter to My Grandchild

    Life is words in action, literature is action in words. Humans are about to destroy their spaceship Earth. Some of them are aware of this and they try to change the course of events. Will they [...]

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  • Letter to my Grandson
    Letter to My Grandchild

    “A drop in an ocean leads a richer life than a lake. / Approach with care, contribute, and celebrate.” Turkish author Tarik Günersel shares a poem dedicated to his young grandson.

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  • Where Turkey is Heading Under PM Erdogan
    Believe It or Not

    From ordering a TV station to stop broadcasting a speech by an opposition leader to the imprisonment of Gezi Park protesters, and from the bombing of Kurdish peasants to the targeting of journalists, each day “it seems that PM Erdoğan’s government creates new material for Ripley’s Believe it or Not.”

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  • Turkish artists writers musicians and lawyers in solidarity against oppression
    Law and Art in Turmoil

    ‘Today there is hardly a democratic government in Turkey. I have taken to calling it “Erdocracy” as it carries the heavy hand of PM Erdoğan.’ Writer Tarik Günersel issues a sharp critique of Prime Minister Erdoğan’s government, as censorship of the arts expands and institutional corruption worsens.

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  • Take your shoe box and leave!
    4.5 Million Dollars in a Shoe Box!

    As more fragments of news about a Turkish corruption scandal are released, journalists are fired, fingers are pointed, and even the upper echelons of power aren’t safe. Writer Tarik Günersel comments on the latest developments in Turkey.

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  • Duru Theater Shutdown
    Attacks Against Theater

    In what is a reversal of a decades old policy, the Turkish Ministry of Culture refuses to give financial aid to private theaters that supported the Gezi Park protests and that stage plays that violate the public’s general morality. Turkey columnist and author Tarik Günersel explains the situation.

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  • Imprisoned_Turkish_Writers
    Turkey’s Imprisoned Writers

    Nearly 800 writers, poets, journalists, translators, and editors are currently in prison around the world. Approximately one tenth of them are in Turkey, where an Anti-Terror Law has been broadly applied to target writers. Here PEN Turkey president explains and names the writers under threat.

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  • Tsunami a Visual Poem
    Let’s Liberate the American People!

    In this column, which makes use of cinematic jump cuts, Tarık Günersel writes about the dangers of a solid relationship between Erdogan’s government and the United States. From Erdogan’s “Islamofascist” views to the USA’s historic meddling in Turkey, Günersel’s critique is delivered with sharp wit.

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  • Situation: A visual poem by Tarık Günersel
    Overture

    The poem “Overture” is a “statement with a wish,” writes Tarık Günersel. He shares his short poem in 32 languages, including English and the Turkish original, with translations provided by fellow writers and PEN members from around the world. Günersel is PEN Turkey president.

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Fearless, Ink.