Turkish novelist Asli Erdogan was acquitted by an Istanbul court after a controversial trial for “terrorist activities”.
Author of several novels translated abroad, Asli Erdogan was tried for having collaborated with the local newspaper Ozgür Gündem, closed by decree in 2016. The Turkish authorities accused Asli Erdogan of having, by collaborating in Ozgür Gündem, helped the Workers’ Party of Kurdistan (PKK), an armed group which is carrying out guerrilla warfare in Turkey and is described as “terrorist“by Ankara.
The 52-year-old novelist, who no longer resides in Turkey but in Germany, was not present at the hearing on Friday.
In a text read by his lawyer at the hearing Friday, Asli Erodgan estimated that accusing him on the basis “of literary texts is something that reason can hardly accept in the 21st century and tramples on the values on which law and literature are based“. She further stressed that the political nature of her writings for Ozgür Gündem”was limited to (denouncing) human rights violations“. she also demanded in this text her acquittal.
The arrest and detention for over 130 days in 2016 of Asli Erdogan had sparked outrage around the world.
For the NGOs, this trial was emblematic of the increasing attacks on freedom of expression in Turkey, in particular since the coup attempt of July 15, 2016.
After the failed coup, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan carried out a relentless repression which did not spare the media and the intellectual world. Clarification: Asli Erdogan is not related to President Erdogan. In addition to the novelist, the court acquitted two other people, including the linguist Necmiye Alpay, tried with her in the Ozgür Gündem trial