Sociologist Pınar Selek, who was controversially given a life sentence by a Turkish court, has said she is not considering claiming asylum in France, the country where she lives and works.
“I will fight to return to my country, even though I have to face arrest,” Selek said in a press conference in Strasbourg, denying reports that she had applied for asylum in France.
Currently completing her doctoral research on the Kurdish issue, Selek was convicted of membership of a terrorist organization on Thursday. The court’s chief judge had expressed a dissenting opinion and voted for Selek’s acquittal, but was outvoted by his judicial colleagues.
Selek said her lawyer father kept repeating to her that a judicial struggle was “like a marathon,” adding that the conviction was being appealed and that an extradition demand was not yet on the table.
She also emphasized that freedom of expression in Turkey had improved, but added that there was still a long way to go. “My crime was to say ‘let’s talk about these issues.’ Now there have been changes in this respect, but there is still a lot more to do,” she said.
Selek added that she was aware the case was having huge repercussions abroad, but denied that this was her intention. “I did not choose to become a symbol, but I will fight until the end,” she said.
Selek was sentenced on Jan. 24 for an alleged bomb attack in Istanbul that caused seven casualties and wounded dozens.