International award for the Turkish newspaper, Cumhuriyet

The Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet recently received the so-called ”alternative Nobel prize”, the 2016 Right Livelihood Award, shared with three other laureates. The newspaper still exists, even though many of its journalists were arrested, 14 of them last month. Today, Turkey has 114 journalists in prison.

Zeynep Oral, a long-time journalist for Cumhuriyet – well known for her courageous struggle for secularism, women rights and the right of minorities – went to Stockholm to receive the prize on the 25th of November, as a representative of Cumhuriyet. Zeynep is a theatre critic, cultural journalist and honorary Vice-president of the IATC. The last month she travelled to Barcelona, Köln, Lugano and Stockholm to draw public attention to the impossible situation of the free press and free cultural life in Turkey. When she received the Catalan PEN award in Barcelona, Zeynepstated in her official speech:

“No new ideas, no creativity, no production of knowledge, not a single platform for discussion, nor an optimistic look to the future can flourish in a totalitarian regime… We can only stand against the darkness, the pressure, the violence, the injustice, the threats we are facing, by embracing even more democracy, more secularism and more liberties…”