I feel like I’m still in prison: Turkish novelist Aslı Erdoğan
Ayşe Arman - ISTANBUL
One of the Turkey’s most prominent novelists, Aslı Erdoğan, says that despite her release she feels like she is still in jail, 10 days after her release after being held in prison for 136 days.
Erdoğan said there were times when she thought she would never be released, telling daily Hürriyet that “70 percent of me is still in jail.”
When she first heard that she would be released, Erdoğan says she could not believe her ears and tried to keep calm to stop her from crying after her release. But after the breaking up of the crowd, she kneeled down among the gendarmerie and started to cry.
She had cried often while still inside, particularly when remembering her friends and their stories. Now outside, among her biggest regrets is the fact that she was not able to properly say goodbye to her friends in jail before being freed.
In the darkest first days after being arrested, Erdoğan admits that she thought about committing suicide.
However, after realizing the “solidarity of inmates in prison” she became ashamed of such thoughts.
Nevertheless, conditions in jail were certainly difficult. She said she was often cold and had to fill bottles with boiling water in order to get warm in the cell bed.
People in jail were able to follow the news, and they were all eating sunflower seeds while watching TV when they learned of her release, Erdoğan said.
She also said that she had seen in her horoscope before her arrest that she would be thrown into jail.
“I do not believe astrology at all. But a book come to my hand and I cast my horoscope. After all, I am trained as a physicist,” she said.
“My stars were located in an amazing place but there was a bad discrepancy in my horoscope. Pluto, which is the star of death, was located in the house of death. I wrote to [renowned astrologist] Susan Miller to find what she thought about my horoscope. She responded that it meant I will lose all my loved ones, be imprisoned, etc. She said, ‘May God bless you,” added Erdoğan.
She also says she had been unable to write in jail because she “could not find the inner energy to write.” What’s more, whenever she wanted to write something the guardians were carrying out searches in the jail.
Erdoğan lost 8 kilograms in her first five days in jail, and was unable to even drink water in the first two days.
“I was a more submissive person before my imprisonment. I did not like words such as ‘resisting’ or ‘bearing’ distress. But I learnt how not to submit. In the past I surrendered, but now I think I’m braver than before,” she added.