Writer denies claims that he seeks asylum in Turkey

Writer denies claims that he seeks asylum in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Writer denies claims that he seeks asylum in Turkey

Aylisi expresses gratitude for support of Turkish intellectuals.

Renowned Azerbaijani writer Akram Aylisli, who has become a target at home over a recent novel depicting Armenian-Azeri friendship, has dismissed claims that he is seeking asylum in Turkey while expressing gratitude for Turkish intellectuals’ critical support during his tribulations.

“The claims are not true. I love Turkey so much, but I have not taken such a decision [to seek asylum in Turkey],” Aylisli recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.

The European Union has called on the Azerbaijani government to end the state pressure against Aylisli, while PEN International is closely following the issue as well.

Aylisli also said the support he has received from the international public was very pleasing.

“[Azerbaijan’s top cleric] declared me a non-believer. Even those who don’t know what my book is about are constantly talking about me on TV. The state and its media organs are targeting me; and all the schools in the country are making propaganda against me,” Aylisli said.

After Aylisli’s latest book, “Stone Dreams,” was released, an Azerbaijani political party placed a 10,000-euro bounty on one of his ears; his books were buried in symbolic funeral ceremonies, and a DNA test was demanded by the Azerbaijani Parliament to determine 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. Aylisli’s son has also been fired from his job.