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Turkish court absolves novelist Asli Erdogan in “terrorism” case

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — On Friday, a court in Istanbul acquitted Turkish novelist Asli Erdogan at the conclusion of a controversial trial in a case of “terrorist activities” that raised the concern of the international community.

The court acquitted the novelist of charges of “attempting to prejudice the integrity of the state” and “belonging to a terrorist group”, and ordered that her prosecution for “terrorist propaganda” be abandoned, according to a reporter from Agence France Presse who attended the session.

Foreign observers and NGOs have been following this trial closely as they see it as a symbol of the hardening of the Turkish authorities after the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016.

Asli Erdogan, who has translated many of her novels into foreign languages, is on trial for her cooperation with the Ozgur Gundem newspaper, which is close to the Kurds, and closed in 2016.

The Turkish authorities accuse her of helping, in cooperation with the newspaper, the Kurdistan Workers Party, the armed movement that is fighting a revolt in Turkey and Ankara considers it a “terrorist” organization.

The novelist, 52, who is currently residing in Germany, did not attend the session Friday.

Her mother expressed her surprise after announcing the ruling. “Believe me, I am very happy,” she told France Presse. “This was what I wanted, but it was hard for him to believe it. I asked many times if she was really going to be exonerated.”

“I accepted it after I heard the word” vindication “nine or ten times,” she added with a broad smile on her face.

An original lawyer said that she was receiving medical treatment in Germany and could return to Turkey as soon as he finished it.

“She is sick and cannot move very often. She will not return today to Turkey, but she will definitely return, it is her country, her homeland,” said lawyer Erdal Dogan.

Literary texts

In a text read by her lawyer at the Friday session, Asli Erdogan considered that her accusation “based on literary texts is something that is difficult for the mind to accept in the twenty-first century, and transcends the values ​​that underlie truth and literature.”

She noted that the political nature of her writings in the newspaper “is limited to (condemning) human rights violations” and demanded that she be acquitted.

The arrest of the novelist for more than 130 days in 2016 sparked resentment in the world.

After she was released in December 2016, she was forced to wait until September 2017 to recover her passport and be able to leave Turkey.

Human rights organizations considered this issue a symbol of the repeated violations of freedom of expression in Turkey, especially since the failed coup of July 15, 2016.

After the coup attempt, the Erdogan government cracked down, providing neither intellectuals nor the media, like the opposition Republican newspaper, many of whose journalists were convicted of “terrorism”.

In an interview with France Press in 2018, the novelist expressed her concern about the country’s situation, describing the current government as “fascism.”

Asli Erdogan has no relationship with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The court also acquitted two other persons, one of whom was linguist Nashmi Albay, who was being tried with her in the Azgur Gundem case.

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