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Nobel Laureate author J.M. Coetzee has released a message for educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who are on the 83rd day of the hunger strike.
In his message, Coetzee emphasized that Turkey needs to return to the rule of law:
“Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça have bravely gone on hunger strike to draw the attention of the world to the desperate situation of intellectuals in the new Turkey. It is to be hoped that governments associated with Turkey in NATO will take note and exert pressure on President Erdogan to return his country to the rule of law.”
An indictment was prepared demanding up to 20 years in prison for Gülmen and Özakça, who are kept in Sincan Prison.
The educators are charged with “being a member of an armed organization”, “opposing to the Law on Meetings and Demonstrations”, and “propagandizing for a terror organization”.
In the prosecution statement, Gülmen and Özakça said that started to stage sit-in in protest of their discharge through statutory decree and they went on their protest with the hunger strike because their request to be reinstated to their jobs was rejected.
Gülmen and Özakça were arrested on the grounds that “they would disturb the functioning of the justice system in case they were not arrested and probationary measures would be insufficient when taken into account prescribed time to be served for the respective crimes" on May 23.
John Maxwell "J. M." Coetzee (born February 9, 1940) is a South African novelist, essayist, linguist, translator and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. He relocated to Australia in 2002 and lives in Adelaide. He became an Australian citizen in 2006.
In 2013, Richard Poplak of the Daily Maverick described Coetzee as "inarguably the most celebrated and decorated living English-language author". Before receiving the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature,
Coetzee was awarded the Jerusalem Prize, CNA Prize (thrice), the Prix Femina Étranger, The Irish Times International Fiction Prize and the Booker Prize (twice), among other accolades. (AS/TK)