We want freedom for our friends and colleagues who are being held in pre-trial detention for their supposed support of terrorism through advocating peace.
We want freedom for ourselves: to pursue our thoughts, to share them and have them be criticized, to defend them as they seem to call for defense, and otherwise to change them.
We must not forgot one whose speech and thought is being suppressed through selective enforcement of building codes.
Sevan Nişanyan wrote Sözlerin Soyağacı: Çağdaş Türkçenin Etimolojik Sözlüğü (Adam Yayınları, 2007, ISBN 975-418-868-4), an etymological dictionary of contemporary Turkish, which I keep within arm’s reach of my desk at home, and frequently consult.
Müjde and Sevan Nişanyan wrote Ankara’nın Doğusundaki Türkiye // Eastern Turkey (Boyut Yayınları. 2006 ISBN 975-23-0196-7), a delightful bilingual travel guide that has illuminated my own visits to the east of Turkey.
Müjde and Sevan created Nişanyan Hotel, where my wife and I have stayed with great pleasure.
Sevan likes to be controversial. Big fucking deal. I say that with irony. You don’t like the way somebody else thinks or writes? Deal with it in your own thinking and writing. Argue with it. Do not use your temporal power to suppress it. It’s simple. Sevan should not be in prison. Like Socrates at his own trial, Sevan deserves a reward instead.
For international distribution, Ali Nesin composed the following about Sevan’s imprisonment:
You may have heard that my old friend Sevan Nisanyan has been in jail for almost two and a half years now.
Sevan Nisanyan is a linguist, a writer, and a tourism professional, and apart from putting Şirince on the tourist map he is also the architect of the Mathematics Village. However, he is being forced to live in terrible conditions in Turkish prisons, where he is not being permitted to continue his scientific work.
Sevan is a Turkish citizen of Armenian origin, who not only knows his country from coast to coast but also strives to show it to others. Because of his eclectic, intellectual and eccentric personality and pitilessly sharp pen, Sevan was trapped in a long judicial process under the guise of being judged him for breaking unjustified construction laws.
He has accumulated a prison sentence of 15 years from the lawsuits filed against him so far. From the lawsuits which have not yet reached a verdict it looks probable that his sentence will reach 25 years.
We strongly wish that this injustice carried out against Sevan be repaired as soon as possible so that he can freely return to his work. We have knocked on every door for help in this matter, without success, whereupon we decided to start a petition for his release. Your support in signing the petition and also in publicising the matter to bring it into the international public eye would be extremely important to us, and more importantly to Sevan.
He is a 60-year-old scientist who is losing hope of ever being able to leave prison and regain his freedom after such an absurdly long prison sentence. We cannot let this happen. We hope you will lend us your support.