Turkish novelist Aslı Erdoğan ‘still worried’ after release

Turkish novelist Aslı Erdoğan ‘still worried’ after release

Turkish novelist Aslı Erdoğan ‘still worried’ after release

AFP photo

One of Turkey’s most prominent novelists, Aslı Erdoğan, has said she “is still worried and cannot feel free,” despite her release after being held in prison for 136 days in the case into the shuttered daily Özgür Gündem on terror charges.

“There is a thing called ‘becoming free,’ but what is freedom? Perhaps prisons teach us just how much our lives outside have already been besieged and closed. We are restricted in many ways by the geography we were born in, our class position, the money in our pockets, our own personality, and childhood traumas. We are actually all in many different prisons,” Erdoğan said in an interview with the BBC Turkish Service.

She particularly noted that it was “impossible” to feel completely free in Turkey considering the current political environment, adding that she was worried about possibly being arrest again in the upcoming hearings of her case.

“I carry that concern even though it has little possibility. In legal terms you cannot be arrested for a second time on the same charge after being released once. But of course one can be arrested for another reason at any moment,” Erdoğan said.

“The search at my home when I was detained lasted for seven hours. Around 4,000 books were searched one by one. Nearly all documents were read. But there was no throwing onto the floor, handcuffing, beating or insults. The officers did not tear up or throw away my writings. By Turkish standards, it went very nicely,” she added.

“Nevertheless, I have still not been able to save myself from that trauma. I still feel a shiver whenever I see a police officer. In particular whenever I see an automatic weapon or gas mask it is not good for me at all,” she said.

Erdoğan and linguist Necmiye Alpay were among journalists and intellectuals tried in one of the cases into Özgür Gündem, a daily that was closed over its alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Alpay was been held behind bars for 120 days.

Erdoğan and Alpay were released on probation on Dec. 29, 2016 after being arrested on charges of “making terrorist propaganda” for the daily, which was closed in August 2016 on terrorism charges.