Meeting held to show solidarity to attacked Azerbaijani writer
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli has been under fire from both the state and the public after the release of his latest novel, ‘Stone Dreams.’The Yeşiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi (Greens and Left Future Party) held a solidarity meeting on Feb. 13 at Cezayir Restaurant located in Istanbul’s Galatasaray district for Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli. Aylisli has been under fire from both the state and the public after the release of his latest novel, “Stone Dreams,” which depicts a story of Azerbaijani-Armenian friendship.
The meeting was attended by a number of intellectuals, authors, poets, and students. Armenian writer Levon Cavakhyan, who himself suffered a similar experience on the other side of the coin, sent a message of solidarity to Aylisli. Cavakhyan was dismissed from the Writers’ Union of Armenia in 2008 after writing about Azerbaijani-Armenian friendship.
Azerbaijani intellectuals living in Turkey are to appeal to the Human Rights Association’s Istanbul Office for Aylisli today, and they will also ask the Azerbaijan Embassy to provide protection for the writer.
Supporting the writer
PEN International has also taken action for Aylisli. Prominent publisher, author and human rights activist Ragıp Zarakolu called on the international public to support Aylisli, adding that his call for peace should be supported. “We must stop such incidents in Azerbaijan. A voice should be raised from this geography, since we have provided Azerbaijan with this strength,” he said.
Zarakolu also criticized the leftist groups in Turkey. “We have become so West-centric that we have left the Azerbaijani groups alone with their fates. It is time to act with solidarity,” he said.
Turkish Writers Union (TYS) chair Mustafa Köz said that the incidents were against both reason and conscience. “Writers are the consciences of their countries. We should protect these consciences, so we side with Aylisli,” Köz said.
“I would hardly believe the incidents in my country,” Azerbaijani poet Suna Araslı told Hürriyet Daily News before the meeting.
Araslı said a bounty of 10,000 euros had been declared for an ear of Aylisli, his books had been buried in symbolic funeral ceremonies, and a DNA test was demanded by the Azerbaijani Parliament to prove whether he was actually Armenian.
Aylisli was the recipient of many national and international awards, and was also declared “Azerbaijani National Writer” in 1987, but President İlham Aliyev stripped him of all his national honors on Feb. 7 in light of the latest book. Aylisli’s son and wife have also been fired from their jobs.