Turkish novelist Aslı Erdoğan unable to receive award due to passport seizure
Ayşegül Usta – ISTANBULOne of Turkey’s most prominent novelists, Aslı Erdoğan, will not be able to accept a peace prize in Germany because her passport, previously seized amid her trial on terror charges, has not yet been returned.
She was to accept the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize in person in the German city of Osnabrück on Sept. 22, but now someone else will receive the award on her behalf.
Erdoğan, 50, was arrested last summer and kept in jail for 132 days on charges of carrying out “terror propaganda” in the probe into the now-closed daily Özgür Gündem, which Ankara condemned as a mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
She was released in December 2016 but as the charges were ongoing she was given a travel ban, hindering her participation in five award ceremonies abroad up to now.
The travel ban was lifted by a court order on June 22, but because the authorities have not yet returned her passport she will not be able to attend the September ceremony in Osnabrück.
“Following the lifting of the travel ban, I applied to the police to get my passport back. They asked for a court order indicating that my ban on my passport was lifted. The court, however, said there was no such ban and my passport was perhaps not returned within the context of the state of emergency and state of emergency decrees. They said they would look into it during the trial to be held on Oct. 31,” Erdoğan said.
“Do I have a ban on my passport? Who placed the ban? I cannot find anything out. This month my book comes out in three countries: Italy, Germany, and Denmark … I have already missed so many interviews over the past year,” she added.
The Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize has been handed out in the German city of Osnabrück, named after the author of the World War I classic “All Quiet on the Western Front,” every two years since 1991. It goes to writers who have demonstrated a commitment to peace.