Exile Hangout: Turkey
In January a panel of distinguished Turkish writers and journalists, including: Tarik Günersel (moderator), Pinar Selek, Necati Abay, and Cüneyt Ayral spoke about risking imprisonment for writing against the regime, the pattern of repression against opposition writers, the government’s crackdown on free press, and the condition of writing in exile.
About the Writers
Tarik Günersel (Moderador) @TGunersel
Tarik 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. A self-exile after the military coup in 1980, he spent four years in Saudi Arabia with his wife Füsun and their daughter Baris, 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. He has recently initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the support of several intellectuals from various parts of the planet.
Pinar Selek @Pinar_Selek
Pinar Selek is a Turkish sociologist, feminist, and author. She is known for her work on the rights of vulnerable communities in Turkey, including women, the poor, street children, sexual minorities, and Kurdish communities. She is the author of several books published in Turkish, German, and French, and is one of the founding editors of Amargi, a Turkish feminist journal. Selek has been prosecuted over a 15-year period in Turkey. Last year the Istanbul Heavy Penal Court sentenced her to life in prison. Selek’s lawyers have appealed the verdict and announced plans to bring her case before the European Court of Human Rights. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies in political science at the University of Strasbourg.
Cüneyt Ayral @Bencayral
Cüneyt Ayral was born in Istanbul, on 1954. In 1977 he established with his friends the association of Ankara Photographers (AFSAD) and became general secretary. Ayral’s poems, essays, short stories and articles have been published in numerous periodicals. Currently Cüneyt Ayral is working as a columnist at Yurt newspaper, and continues to write books. Ayral lectures on various subject in his field at universities, and organizes poetry recitals. Ayral has 17 books published in Turkey. For more info: http://ayral.wordpress.com/ & ayral.com
Necati Abay @necatiabay
Necati Abay is a writer for Atilim newspaper and a spokesperson for the Solidarity Platform of the Imprisoned Journalists in Turkey, was sentenced to 18 years and 9 months in relation with the case of Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) by Istanbul’s 12th Assize Court in 2011.