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Turkey: Renowned writer Necmiye Alpay released, trial continues

Tuesday 10 January 2017 - 12:00am


Turkey:  Renowned writer & linguist Necmiye Alpay released pending completion of trial

10 January 2017 - On 29 December 2016, renowned writer and linguist Necmiye Alpay was released from Bakirkoy prison in Istanbul, 120 days after she arrested on alleged terror charges as a part of an ongoing investigation into closed daily Özgür Gündem. Despite her release Alpay remains on trial. On 31 August 2016, Istanbul’s Eighth Criminal Judgeship of Peace ordered the arrest of Alpay on charges of ‘being a member of a terror organization’ and ‘disrupting the unity of the state’; charges she denies.  PEN International believes that the charges against her are solely in connection with her peaceful exercise to her right to freedom of expression and calls on the Turkish authorities to drop them immediately and unconditionally. PEN also reiterates its call for protection of free expression and human rights, particularly during the declared state of emergency.

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Send appeals to the Turkish authorities:

  • Urging them to drop all charges against Necmiye Alpay immediately and unconditionally, and to lift the travel ban imposed on her;
  • Calling for all detained writers and journalists to have access to lawyers from the time of arrest and to be released if they are not to be charged with a criminal offence and tried promptly in accordance with international fair trial standards;
  • Calling on them not to use the state of emergency to crack down on peaceful dissent, civil society, media and education.

Please send appeals reiterating PEN’s calls to:

Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ
Milli Müdafaa Caddesi No: 22
06659, Kızılay
Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 312 419 33 70
Twitter: @bybekirbozdag

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım
Çankaya Mah. Ziaur Rahman

Cad. Çankaya / Ankara
Tel: (+90 312) 403 50 00
Fax: (+90 312) 422 10 00

Copies to:

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Cumhurbaşkanlığı Külliyesi
06560 Beştepe-Ankara
Tel : (+90 312) 525 55 55
Fax : (+90 312) 525 58 31
Twitter: @RT_Erdogan

Please copy your appeals to the Embassy of Turkey in your country.  A list of embassies can be found here.

Please send us copies of your letters or information about other activities and of any responses received.


Send messages and postcards of solidarity and support to Necmiye Alpay to Aurelia Dondo at PEN International at

Consider adopting Necmiye Alpay as an Honorary Member of your Centre.  Details of how to campaign for honorary members may be found in the Writers in Prison Committee Handbook, available here.


PEN members are encouraged to publish articles and opinion pieces in your national or local press highlighting the case of Necmiye Alpay and the situation of freedom of expression in Turkey.


Necmiye Alpay, born in 1946, is a linguist and writer. A graduate of political science from Ankara University Faculty, she completed a doctorate in economics at Paris-Nanterre University. She became a lecturer at Ankara University Faculty for Political Science and spent three years in prison in the 1980s. After her release, she started working as a translator. She has not only written columns and articles in many newspapers and journals such as Radikal daily and translated works of authors like Paul Ricoeur, I. Wallerstein into Turkish but has also published books on the usage of language, literary criticism, and the peace process in Turkey.

Necmiye Alpay was detained on 31 August 2016 on charges of being a ‘member of a terror organization’ and ‘disrupting the unity of the state’. Alpay, who is 70 years old, is member of the Editorial Consultancy Board of the now-closed daily Özgür Gündem, which was which was shut down by decree as part of the state of emergency in the country following the failed coup of 15 July 2016. During the raid on its offices more than 20 journalists and employees of the paper were detained.

On 31 August 2016, Alpay appeared at an Istanbul court to give a statement as part of the ongoing investigation into Özgür Gündem, where she was arrested and later charged. Istanbul’s Eighth Criminal Judgeship of Peace stated that she was being detained because she presented a high risk of flight from the country. In response, Alpay stated: ‘I want to say that the judge might be considering my efforts for peace a crime, but that is against all reason, too.’

On the first day of her trial on 29 December 2016, after pleading ‘not guilty’, she was released pending completion of her trial.

For further information please contact Aurelia Dondo at PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London SE1 2AN, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: