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A club, its ideals and freedom of expression

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Of course, you can express it ironically, as Deniz Yücel does on his Twitter account, especially since it is about himself, his position as president of the German PEN center, which he has held since October last year: “Since there is not so much is happening in the world right now, something is happening in PEN Germany.”

In fact, at first glance the whole thing has some relevance in these times of war, but at second glance it looks like the matter of an association that is mainly concerned with itself. At a podium at lit.cologne in Cologne, Yücel considered establishing a no-fly zone over Ukraine and indicated that NATO should perhaps take direct military action against Putin and his troops.

The moderator had asked Yücel: “Should the airspace over Ukraine be closed?”, to which he replied: “It would be a good idea, right?”, because the Ukrainians are very interested in involving us all. in this war now.”

These are completely different things, says Yücel

As a result, four former presidents, namely Johanno Strasser, Josef Haslinger, Gert Heidenreich, and Christoph Hein, together with Yücel’s predecessor, Regula Venske, and probably several other PEN members, wrote a letter demanding Deniz Yücel’s resignation.

According to the letter, with these “military-strategic public statements” he violated the international PEN charter, a charter that feels “committed to the ideal of humanity living in peace.”

In a response letter that, like the PEN officials’ letter, is available to “Deutschlandfunk”, Deniz Yücel is said to have rejected his resignation as president, writing that he had spoken “in the interests of a peaceful humanity” and that He continued to do so “as necessary” he believes “also to support Ukraine militarily”.

Now you can discuss Yücel’s comments, but that he of his club, which defends freedom of expression throughout the world as the highest good, naturally has the power of freedom of expression at the top of his agenda, which is why Are you being asked to resign after all the questionable statements?

accusations of bullying

Yücel, whose main job is a “Welt” journalist and had to spend a year in a Turkish prison because the Erdogan regime did not like his words about conditions in Turkey, later wrote on Twitter that “in this dispute (also/ actually) about completely different things.”

About what, could be read on Monday in a text by the PEN deputy Petra Reski in the “FAZ”. Reski is only concerned with the former writers association president’s demands for resignation at the end. Rather, she cites Yücel’s tweets from last year, “which caused astonishment”; she writes about emails that were “accidentally” sent, allegedly revealing that the Yücel-led presidency specifically wants to get rid of other members; and Reski also talks about “bullying” and “evil” on Yücel’s part

So something is really going on at PEN, this Darmstadt-based association of “poets, essayists and novelists,” which was founded in England in 1921 and has also existed in Germany since 1924. It seems there have been rumors since Yücel took office .

This is surprising, as he had just been elected and, for the first time in many, many years, had given PEN some stature and greater public attention to its concerns.


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