Today marks 2000 days since news editor, reporter and poet Nedim Türfent was arrested and subsequently sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison on trumped-up terrorism charges following an unfair trial, during which scores of witnesses said they had been tortured into testifying against him. Fifty-four organisations urge once again the Turkish authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally, and to overturn his conviction.
‘Today marks another painful milestone in Nedim Türfent’s gross miscarriage of justice. That he has now spent 2000 days behind bars simply for doing his job beggars belief. As a first step towards rectifying this injustice, the Turkish authorities must release him immediately and unconditionally and urgently quash his conviction. Türfent’s application before the European Court of Human Rights is still pending, almost three years after being lodged, and we trust that the Court can prioritize the case. The PEN Community stands once again by Türfent and all the writers and journalists wrongfully imprisoned in Turkey and will keep advocating for their freedom until every single one of them is released’, said Ma Thida, Chair of PEN International’s Writers in Prison Committee.
While in prison Nedim Türfent wrote ‘Kuş Aynası,’ a collection of poems published in September 2021 in Turkey by Aram Publishing. Today, the PEN community is proud to publish the English translation of the poem ‘Sana dair izlerin peşinde’ (Following the Traces of You) from this collection, translated by Caroline Stockford, Turkey Advisor at PEN Norway. The poem can be accessed here: https://pen-international.org/news/turkey-solidarity-with-nedim-turfent .
Following the Traces of You
Loneliness lays its hand on my heart
Just there, just somewhere
A gentle twinge
A tender melancholy
How can I explain?
In the pitch of darkness
I grapple, struggle with your absence.
A never-ending adventure
I fill blank pages
With line after line of the lack of you,
Scribbling it hastily.
To write you, to write down
Is so hard a thing to do!
Striving to write you
Is like a state of stammering,
Stuck in its form like a tied tongue
I’m unable to say so, to spell it out
On these prolific pages
I exist in the roll call
Of your absence.
Here at the shoreline
of my aching eyes, it’s easy to say
I miss you. Here, in a palm-sized cell
Is a world’s worth of longing.