Asli Erdogan, former ICORN writer in residence in Krakow, was imprisoned in Turkey 19 August 2016. In a letter from prison dated 1 November, she alarms the outside world about what is happening in her home country.
“The situation is drastic and horrifying and extremely worrisome” she writes. “I believe that a totalitarian regime in Turkey will unavoidably shake all Europe, eventually. Europe, currently concentrated on “refugee crisis” seems to underestimate the perils of total loss of democracy in Turkey”. Read Asli’s letter in full below.
The ICORN member cities has joined the wider human rights communities in campaigning for Asli Erdogan and her imprisoned colleagues. Today, Tuesday 8 November, Paris’ Mayor Anne Hidalgo, awarded Asli’s colleague, Chief editor of Cumhuriyet, Can Dündar, the honorable citizenship of Paris, for his fight for human rights and freedom of expression.
On 15 November, “the day of the imprisoned writers”, PEN centers all over the world will fight for Asli and many other writers, censored, persecuted, threatened and imprisoned solely for executing their universal right to freedom of expression. In Stockholm, Swedish PEN will award Asli Erdogan its annual Tucholsky Prize, and Asli’s mother will be present to receive it, on behalf of her daughter.
Letter from Asli Erdogsn, 1 November 2016, sent from Bakırköy prison Istanbul
Dear friends, colleagues, journalists and members of press,
I am writing this letter to you from Bakırköy Prison, the day after “Cumhuriyet!”, one of our oldest newspapers, the soul of social democrats, has been subjected to a police operation. More than a dozen of its writers are under custody at the moment, while four more are “wanted by police”, including Can Dündar, general director. Even I was shocked! This is a clear sign that Turkey has decided to disobey any law or respect any rights. Currently, more than 130 journalists are in jail – a world record. 170 newspapers, periodicals, and radio, TV channels have been shut down in two months. Our current government wants to monopolise “reality and “truth”, any opinion differing slightly from that of the rulers, is violently suppressed: Police beating, days and nights under custody (up to 30 days), prison…
I have been arrested on August 19th, simply because I am one of the advisors of Özgur Gundem, the Kurdish paper. Although press law 11 clearly states that advisors bare no legal responsibility over the paper, I haven’t yet seen a court which will listen to my story.
In this kafkaesk trial, along with me, Necmiye Alpay, a 70 year old linguist and translator, is also arrested and charged with terrorism.
This letter is an urgent call! The situation is dratic and horrifying and extremely worrisome. I believe that a totalitarian regime in Turkey will unavoidably shake all Europe. Eventually.
Europe, currently concentrated on “refugee crisis”, seems to underestimate the perils of total loss of democracy in Turkey. Now we – the writers, the journalists, the Kurdish, the activists and of course, the women are paying the heavy price for “democracy crisis”. Europe should assume its responsibility over the values it has defined with the blood of centuries, the values which makes “Europa” a democracy, human rights, freedom of speech and thought…
We need all your solidarity and support. Many thanks for what you have done for us so far.