Turkish novelist Asli Erdogan, acquitted on Friday after a controversial trial for " terrorist activities ", told AFP on Sunday (February 16th) that she would not return to her country because " another arrest would mean death " for her.
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" Under the current circumstances, I cannot return due to the risk of imprisonment, " she said in a telephone interview with an AFP journalist, explaining that what she would say in an interview or elsewhere could serve as a pretext for a new legal battle. " Another arrest would mean death to me ."
Turkish authorities have arrested tens of thousands of people, including academics and journalists, since the failed coup in July 2016 against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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2018 winner of the Simone de Beauvoir Prize
An Istanbul court acquitted the novelist of charges of " attempting to undermine the integrity of the state " and " belonging to a terrorist group ", and ordered the prosecution for " terrorist propaganda " to be discontinued. “ To be honest, I was very surprised. Almost everyone assumed that I would be sentenced, ”said the author, who chose to live in exile in Germany. " I still cannot believe it, but if it is not this one, there will be another affair, " explained the writer, who is not related to President Erdogan.
Author of several novels translated abroad, winner of the 2018 Simone de Beauvoir Prize for women's freedom, Asli Erdogan was on trial for having collaborated with the local newspaper Ozgür Gündem, closed by decree in 2016. The Turkish authorities accused Asli Erdogan of having, by collaborating with Ozgür Gündem, helped the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group which is waging bloody guerrilla warfare in Turkey and which Ankara describes as " terrorist ".
The 52-year-old novelist, who was not present at the hearing on Friday, described the current political system as " fascism, neo-fascime ", saying that the trials against the imprisoned author Ahmet Altan and the man businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala demonstrated that the situation went " far beyond a dictatorship ". " I don't really know what's going on behind closed doors, but such irrational cases have no other explanation. I see them as part of a strategy, ”she said.
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