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Friday, March 10, 2017
Call for the trial of female writer Asli Erdogan who is prosecuted for life imprisonment
Call for the trial of female writer Asli Erdogan who is prosecuted for life imprisonment
"Do you know if one cries in the sea, nobody could tell?" – By Ece Ayhan who is a Turkish poet
For quite some time, I have been sending you informative e:mail messages about freedom of expression’s being nearly eradicated in and how democratic human rights are restricted. I am trying to draw your attention on how this could be spreaded in the world if people stay silent to what is happening in Turkey at a time when the rightest politics are rapidly rising.
There will be the 3rd hearing of many international awards winning writer Ms. Aslı Erdoğan and 70 years old linguist Ms. Necmiye Alpay who are prosecuted for heavy life inprisonment as I previously informed you, on March 14th, at 10:00 at Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court of Istanbul Caglayan Court House.
As I have already written to you, Aslı Erdogan’s case documents had been individually reviewed by 17 criminal lawyers (judge, lawyer, academician) with different political views, well-known in Turkey. These 17 legal persons who have political stances totally different from one another, have agreed that there is no element of a crime in these articles in accordance with the current Turkish legal system. Unfortunately, the same is valid for the cases of most journalists, writers, academicians, etc. who are in prison or prosecuted, today. There is not any crime according to the current laws, but jurisdiction politically and unlawfully prosecutes, punished and imprisons the opponents.
For this reason, the presence of international legal reporters, legal activists, human rights activists, freedom of expression activists at the trials are very important. Most practices at the courts are contrary to many international agreements signed by Turkey. And, according to the item 90 of current Turkish Constitution, articles of these many international agreements signed by Turkey should be ahead of internal laws at jurisdiction which makes international sanctions to the injustices made easier.
Unfortunately unlike Europe, jurisdiction in Turkey has not been really institutionalized; it is not independent and precedent. Since the “Independence Courts” established in 1920, jurisdiction have mostly worked basing on politics not law. During this last state of emergency period, a space has been created between law and jurisdiction which is streets ahead of Lacan’s space between word and thought. People are labeled as guilty and imprisoned because of their tiniest opponent tweets.
Today, more than 150 opponent journalists are in jail in Turkey. Last, German Die Welt newspaper’s Turkish origin German citizen correspondent İlker Deniz Yucel has been arrested. He is accused of “making terror organization propaganda” and “provoking public openly for hatred and hostility”. How has Yucel done this? He made an interview with one of the heads of PKK, Cemil Bayik. A journalist does this if he finds the opportunity to interview one of the actors of a case. Is there a journalist who does not want to interview Hitler if he arises from dead today? I do not approve no crime against humanity and terrorist act, however, parties at conflict areas are legalized according to the cyclical balance of power; if the balance of power totally reverses, separatist organization becomes legal government and current government becomes separatist organization. It does not matter that I agree with him or not; Yucel, who is a columnist at the same time, has written what happened with a viewpoint which does not fit the current official politics; dicordantly. Is this a crime? These are his opinions and he has expressed them; is there any act of violence? Is there any call for violence? Besides, both Erdoğan and many spokesmen from AKP made hundreds of statements which are not so different from what Yücel said, during the period called “resolution process” for Kurdish question or “”Kurdish initiative” which had been started by President Erdoğan by having enacted a law when he had been the Prime Minister in 2013, and was recanted after two years. The most funny thing has been the presentation of the existence of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Abdullah Öcalan's posters at a panel where Yucel participated, as visual evidence. When Erdoğan was the prime minister, official meetings were held with Öcalan many times at the prison, his statements were read with official permission as long as they complied with political interests, but now it is considered a crime to participate a panel where Öcalan posters are hanged.
And there is of course Yücel’s publishing hacked mails of the President’s son in law and Minister of Energy Berat Albayrak. As in Hamlet’s lines “revenge is a dish best served cold”, however, you do not need to wait its getting that cold if there is a chance.
The fifteen items which will be voted by referandum in April and can never be considered a draft of constitution because there is not a single item among them pertaining to social concensus, project that execution and legislation are totalized in one man’s total authority and, by zeroing separation of powers, jurisdiction is also given indirectly to the same man’s hand with the power of appointment, keeping the regime as it is. Here at this point, jurisdiction will completely be politicized and freedom of expression will be set to zero.
Jurisdiction today in Turkey is unfortunately processing politically independent of law. There is no need to commit a crime to be punished; opponents can be punished even there is not any legal base. This is an intimidation policy. Aslı is a specifically chosen one as in the earlier Pınar Selek case to threaten white collar Turks. Instead of occupying a good place in the economical and social pyramid with your education and fame, it is merely said that this would happen to you, too, if you deal with problems of Kurds, Armenians, Jews, LGBTI’s, animals etc. who are exposed to discrimination and you oppose. Intimidation policy and silencing down all voices have worked just fine. It is said that you either will be arrested or become unemployed. People could be arrested or fired even for their opponent tweets. Layoffs are not only in state related organizations; they also happen in private organizations, particularly in media organizations which do not wish to be contrary to the government.
Today when Trump wins in the USA, La Pen is increasing its votes in France, nationalists and rightests are getting stronger in Europe; freedom of expression’s and democracy’s disappearing rapidly in Turkey, will not only be Turkey’s problem; these will enure to Europe’s strengthening anti-democratic leaders. Europe should immediately take a stand against democracy’s disappearing by applying serious sanctions to Turkey by way of international agreements that Turkey made. Europe should not bend its knee to anti-democratic Turkish government’s refugee and trade (especially arms) leverage.
Please do not forget that attacks against freedom of expression in Turkey pose a threat for civil societies in whole Europe, even whole world. To stay silent to violations in other countries would harm you eventually. To end democracy in Turkey could give inspiration to some authorites; please think about this.
Please, do not stay silent to Europe’s and world’s giving up ideals in favour of short term benefits (refugee pacts, arms sales and other trades). Please do not comply with Turkish government’s bluffs.
Ps Please get in touch with Aslı Erdoğans attorney Mr. Erdal Doğan through firstname.lastname@example.org or 90 532 563 25 26 if you want.
Pss Here is a video on Asli Erdogan's article named "Chronicles of Fascism: Today" (in English) some words of which are considered as elements of crime.
You can contact the director/artist Ms Eren Topçu through email@example.com or 90 055 456 70 16
Who is Ali Erdogan?
Aslı Erdoğan is an objector to violance, anti-militarist, peace activist and a female conscientious objector, who is one of the most important names of today’s Turkish literature and whose books have been translated into 14 languages and published in more than 20 countries. She was born in 1967 in Istanbul. She graduated from Istanbul American Robert College and then from Bosphorus University, Department of Computer Engineering. During this time, she also studied classical ballet.
Aslı studied computer engineering (received her bachelor degree in 1988) and physics (master’s degree in 1993); she wrote her master’s thesis about Higgs physics in Geneva, where she worked as a high energy researcher (God particle) at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (1991-1993). Later, she moved to Rio de Janeiro, where she began writing her doctoral dissertation; however, she gave up on her academic career in 1994. After a two year stay in South America, she returned to Istanbul and began her writing career.
Since her novel The Shell Man was published in 1994, she has written over a dozen books, including novels, short stories, collections of stories, poetic prose, as well as a selection of political essays.
Being a female conscientious objector and an antimilitarist, Aslı Erdogan has worked as a columnist and journalist – since 1998, mainly for the iberal newspaper Radikal, leftist newspaper Birgün and Kürdish newspaper Özgür Gündem.
Aslı received many important literary awards in Europe and Turkey. France literary magazine Lire placed her on the list of “50 writers of the future”, naming her work a modern classic and etc.
She received Yunus Nadi Novel Prize in 2005 and Sait Faik Short Story Prize in 2010 which are the two most important literature prizes of Turkey.
Miraculous Mandarin took its place within the “Books of the Year” together with Joyce Carol Oates’ and Vaclav Havel’s book in Sweden. She received the first prize in a contest organized by Deutsche Welle in Germany in 1997 with her short story named Wooden Birds which was translated into 10 languages.
In 1998, her “City with Red Cloak” entered into Norway’s Gylendal Publisher’s Marg (Medulla) Series which give place to works of writers “who are not popular but writing books as important as to form the medulla of literature”.
In 2005, she was shown in “future’s 50 writers” who would give direction to 21st century’s literature, by French Literature journal Lire. “In the Silence of Life” which is considered a milestone in Asli’s writing, published in 2005 as well, received the book of the year award given by World Publications.
In 2012, with the Literaturhaus and International PEN Club’s review, she was elected as "Zürich City Writer".
In 2013, she was deemed worthy of "Liminal Words Award” (Ord i Grenseland Prisen) in Norway.
When Aslı was in prison, she was deemed worthy of 'Tucholsky Award”, one of the prestigious literary awards, by Swedish PEN Club. The reason for giving her the award was stated as “her newly created writership and her language to bring down the prison of that little rights”. This award is given in memoriam of German writer Kurt Tucholsky who took refuge in Sweden, running from Hitler’s nazisim and commited suicide after falling into depression when his request for asylum was rejected.
After she was released from prison, Aslı has received Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Award unanimously for “her major contribution for developing and protecting international human rights”, given by Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Foundation. Furthermore, the jury made a statement of “She has worked actively for all her life to improve human rights with unconditional committment. This award given to Aslı Erdoğan is a symbol against the big limitations for human rights”. After this, Aslı has been deemed worthy of Princess Margriet Award for Culture, given by European Culture Foundation. In the rationale of the award, it said “Aslı Erdoğan inspires and illuminates a large mass and starts arguments exceeding her limits by way of literature, journalism and media. This extraordinary person adds an amazing richness to the European culture scene. She gives exemplary culturel responses to today’s urgencies and shows that culture is a vital part of communication in the creation of tomorrow’s world”. Aslı will not be able to go to Germany to receive both awards due to her international travel ban.
More than 100 articles and papers on Asli’s books were published in newspapaers and journals like Le Monde, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, die Welt, der Freitag and die Berliner Literatur Kritik. In the critics, she was compared to Antonin Artaud and Malcolm Löwry. Her books were considered contemporary classics. In Norway, Aftenposten said: “As Joyce and Dublin, Kafka and Prag cannot be separated, from now on Aslı Erdogan and Rio are now bonded by unbreakable ties”.
Aslı’s books: Shell Man, 1994 (novel), Miraculous Mandarin, 1996 (novel), City with Red Cloak, 1998 (novel), When Does a Journey End, 2000 (newspaper articles), In the Silance of Life, 2005 (lyrical text), Journal of a Lunatic, 2006, One More Time, 2006 (essays), Stone Buiding and Others, 2009 (tales), Now Even Silence No Longer Belongs, 2017 (essays)
Asli Erdogan Case
More than 50 fully armed policemen raided Aslı Erdoğan’s home where she lived by herself on August 16, 2016. After a search of 4.5 hours and nothing was found, she was taken into custody and arrested on Augus 19th. “Disrupt the unity and territorial integrity of the state” and “being a member of armed terrorist organization” were the accusations attributed to Aslı about whom an investigation was opened with the prosecution’s referral demanding heavy life sentence. When she was arrested, Aslı was “a columnist” and “a publication advisory board member” who does not have any criminal or legal responsibility for periodicals according to the Article 11 of Turkish Press Law No. 5187, at “Özgür Gündem” newspaper which had been closed.
Rationale of the investigation opened against Aslı was disclosed as her publication advisory board membership which “does not have any criminal or legal responsibility” and her four articles, three of which were form her column at “Özgür Gündem” newspaper and one from Karakarga literature journal.
I had Aslı Erdogan’s case documents had been individually reviewed by 17 criminal lawyers (judge, lawyer, academician) with different political views, well-known in Turkey. These 17 legal persons who have political stances totally different from one another, have agreed that there is no element of a crime in these articles in accordance with the current Turkish legal system. This is the same for Mrs. Alpay’s case as well. (Most of these reports were translated into English; I can send you if you are interested in them.)
Despite her poor health condition, Aslı was kept in prison during 133 days. Her attorney’s petitions for her being on trial without arrest, are being rejected repeatedly.
Despite her serious health issues, her petitions to be judged without arrest were declined completely illegally.
She was detained pending trial which is a heavy security measure and can only be applicable only lighter measure is not sufficient to protect the interests of the individual or the public and her pending trial request were rejected four times even though her home was thoroughly searched and it was obvious that there was no spoliation of evidence and there was no possibility for her to escape and she was kept prisoned for 133 days arbitrarily before her trial though it was unlawful.
Criminal lawyers evaluated this repeated implementation as “Court’s rejecting the objection to imprisonment without showing any rationale is both the indicator of most concrete arbitrariness of not complying with the law of criminal procedure and Aslı Erdoğan’s imprisonment’s being political and being without any legal base”.
It was claimed that Aslı’s 4 articles, one of which was published in Karakarga Journal and three of which were published in her column in Ozgur Gundem Newspaper, have elements of crime. (20.03.2016 “Proceedings 2: ‘This is your father’” -title of the article was inspired from Heimrad Böcker’s poem-; 20.05.2016 “Chronicles of Fascism: Today”; 17.06.2016 “History readings of a lunatic”; and 08.07.2016 “Cruelest of the months” –title of the article was inspired from T.S.Eliot’s poem-. I can send you English translations of these four article if request). All of the 17 criminal lawyers who have examined these four articles one by one, reported that there is no element of a crime in these articles in accordance with the current Turkish legal system. So, this accusation is also not legal but it is arbitrary; like Aslı says “Not only the freedom of thought is judged, but also the conscience…”
When her articles are read, it is clearly seen that the writer talks about her sadness in a literary language without making any calls for violence or praising violence. It is completely obvious that Aslı, who has never been a member of HDP (Kurdish Poeople’s Democratic Party) which she was tried to be associated with, or any other party in her whole life, neither made propaganda for either PKK of which she was never a member, contrary to allegations, or any other organization nor implicated these in her four articles.
It can be observed from Aslı’s writings in periodicals like Radikal, Birgün and Özgür Gündem newspapers and Fil and Karakarga journals, and her books that she discusses violence in detail in a literary language with all its philosophical, sociological and political dimensions and emphasizing frequently its patriarchal dimension, as well, and she always takes a firm stand against violence.
Maybe you followed from the media; a simple but a wicked game of perception was played. First, news about Aslı Erdoğan’s and Necmiye Alpay’s discharge was spreaded to international media. It was meaningful that this was done just before EU’s voting about Turkey and UN’s Turkish Commissioner’s heavy critisizm regarding human rights. Then, it was pictured that Erdoğan and Alpay were discharged from the act of “disrupting the unity and territorial integrity of the state” for which there had been no evidence against them and their arrests had been illegal in the first place; but re-arrested for “being a member of terrorist organization” for which there is no rational evidence against them, as well. However in actual fact, they have never been discharged and these two were not separate cases; it was the only case which was totally unlawful.
Prosecutor’s criminal charge against Aslı Erdoğan were not written for a long time. It was written and disclosed 83 days later then she had been imprisoned. However, there was no rational evidence of crime in this criminal charge.
Aslı and Necmiye Alpay have been released at the first hearing on 29 Aralık 2016 which started by Aslı’s having said “I will start my plea as if there is law and by the name of law” in her writing that that she had prepared. In her writing, Aslı said "I am an war opponent, a conscient objector, an anti-militarist who does not approve to kill a person even for self defense, does not eat meat” in her writing that she read at the trial and finished with a very important sentence according to me “Law is obliged to protect the individual and the community, not only the state.”
Her both two hearings were just unlawful black comedies. Like Kafka’s Case. Even the judge was unable to hide the cynical smile on his face while reading the alleged crimes at the las hearing. Aslı’s attorney requested her acquittal once again stating that there is no rational evidence for the alleged crimes. He requested that at least her retained passport is returned and her international travel ban is lifted for her carrying on her occupatinal activities. Judge said he is restricted by the accusation in case of state of emergency. Prosecutor did not permit to lift her international travel ban. Her trial without arrest will continue.
“One can write only when s/he’s nude, there is an excoriated skin underneath the nude. The birth of the litterature is contemporaneous with the statute and epos, with the masculine language. With the contract and the order. The woman has been told always by the definition of the male, by the male subject, she’s been objectified and ceased. Even while undressing, she was being undressed under the gaze of the male, by the male she was being undressed and clothed. Her nudity was another dress put on her -that the male defined. John Berger gives the extreme example on it through the nude paintings: calling the painting with the women with a mirror (Melming’s “Vanity”): “self admiration”. Untill the last two centuries period, till the effort to break out of the anonymity, the woman is ‘blank creature’. I, in my writing, see the woman body as a return to Iteka. There is no Iteka for a woman Odysseus. Because she is detached from her own body. This is why I always depict the woman using ‘sore’, ‘lacking’, ‘detachment’, ‘vanishing’ and ‘disintegration’.”
(About the play called ‘Merheba’ that she wrote “The Monologues of the woman with a cut tongue” for.)