The empty chair is for the comedian Zargana convicted to 35 years in prison.
Writing in a world in crises is problematic. The freedom of expression is shackled by taboos about certain subjects. In Turkey those are: Kemal Atta Turk, Armenia, the Kurdish issue, political Islam and military in politics. If as a writer you even slightly approach one of these subjects in a way that is perceived to be critical of the official views you can end up up killed like Hrant Dink or in jail like Leyla Zalan. The other part of the evening was dedicated to Palestinian writers. We know Mourid Barghouti, but who else. Can writers escape politics, I am afraid they cannot: they still need paper and pen, light at night and the safety to live and think in, food for their families and medical care. There are 700 checkpoints and people cannot go to their fields or visit their family, there is hardly any water. The task of the Palestinian writers is Herculean: to create a new world while being powerless in an occupied country. Peace now, so that children, men and women and poetry can flourish.