Fethiye Çetin (Foto: privat)
Fethiye Çetin was born in Turkey in 1948. She grew up in Maden in the province of Elazig in eastern Turkey and studied law at the University of Ankara. After the military coup of 1980, she was arrested and convicted according to the infamous Article 141 (violation of national honor) and sentenced to three years in prison. In 1991 this article was revoked and the sentence was reversed. As a lawyer and activist, Fethiye Çetin has been a committed advocate of human rights, minority rights and the right to free speech for thirty years. She was also legal counsel of the well-known Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, who was murdered in broad daylight on 19 January 2007 (in 2007, German PEN honored the magazine AGOS he edited with the Hermann Kesten Prize). Since Dink’s death, she has been the main lawyer in the trial for his murder. Furthermore, she also continues to represent Dink’s family and the magazine AGOS before the Turkish courts and before the European Court of Human Rights and is the Legal Officer of the Hrant Dink Foundation. Fethiye Çetin is also the author of two books about the Islamization of Armenians and a frequent guest on television talk shows both in Turkey and abroad. She attends many conferences and meetings and is often asked to give interviews in the national and international press. In public, she is, in a sense, the face of the trial of Hrant Dink’s murder. She is also an object of hate for those ultra-nationalist forces responsible for the murder. She has received countless death threats and has been under massive police protection in Turkey since the fall of 2011. Her friends advised her to go abroad, at least for some time, given the increasing risk to her life. From February 2012 – January 2013, she was a fellow of the PEN Writers in Exile Program and lived in Berlin. Then she returned to Turkey. In March 2017, a text by Çetin will be published in the German PEN anthology Zuflucht in Deutschland. Texte verfolgter Autoren (S. Fischer).