“They take you and throw you in a hole”


From an AFP story in The Guardian:

Asli Erdoğan, one of Turkey’s most celebrated novelists, was released from jail Thursday, looking exhausted after 132 days of pre-trial detention, declaring that she could barely believe she was free.

The writer has been in prison on charges of terror propaganda on account of her links to a pro-Kurdish newspaper, in a case that has caused an international outcry over freedom of expression.

“I do not realise it yet, I am in shock,” she said, appearing drawn, tired and emotional in front of the Bakirkoy women’s prison in Istanbul.

“They take you and throw you into a hole. It’s very hard, it’s like I’m still inside,” she added, before bursting into tears.

An Istanbul court ordered that Erdoğan and Necmiye Alpay, an internationally prominent linguist, be released.

The pair were taken into custody in August as part of a probe into the now shut-down newspaper Ozgur Gundem, which Turkish authorities say is a mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

But the fate of Erdoğan and Alpay, author of widely praised translations of Western novels into Turkish who had been in custody for 120 days, is still unclear.

The case against them remains active and they could still face life imprisonment if convicted. The next hearing is scheduled for 2 January.

The Erdogan government goes to an awful lot of trouble to intimidate journalists and writers, but they always seem to get released. There is no death penalty in Turkey although Erdogan made such noises after the July coup which he referred to as “a gift from God.” But he and his allies who seek a suppressive Islamist state based on sharia law may be aware that among the criminal justice apparatus he controls there isn’t the stomach for what’s done in neighboring countries like Iran and Syria. Turkey was a secular society when Erdogan took power 14 years ago and had been one for some time.

The formal arrest of investigative journalist Ahmet Sik is getting world wide coverage. Newspapers in Canada, Germany, France, and Italy. Sik is world renowned and his treatment by the Erdogan government will not go unnoticed.

Sik’s arrest, announced as being for tweets he made in addition to his journalistic endeavors, demonstrates a level of fecklessness in Erdogan’s desires to silence social media. Sik has added 3000 Twitter followers since he announced his arrest two days ago.

Nonetheless, over 40,000 citizens of Turkey are still jailed as a result of the July coup attempt.

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About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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