Aslı Erdoğan, an ICORN guest writer in sister City of Literature Krakow in 2015, has been arrested in Turkey. Erdoğan is a Turkish writer, columnist and human rights activist and was arrested following a police raid into her apartment.
This is not a stand-alone event, as more than twenty journalists and employees from Özgür Gündem newspaper have also been arrested. Özgür Gündem is a pro-Kurdish opposition daily, and was shut down by decree following the failed coup of 15 July 2016.
PEN International is calling on Turkey to release all journalists and writers, to remind them of their right to exercise freedom of speech and expression. Ann Harrison, Director of Freedom to Write program at PEN International, commented: “We are concerned that whilst carrying out legitimate investigations related to criminal conduct during the attempted coup, the Turkish authorities are using increased powers given by the state of emergency to silence dissenting and critical voices…Turkish authorities have a disturbing track-record of suppressing freedom of expression and other forms of opposition and dissent, which has intensified in recent years.’
Aslı Erdoğan became an ICORN guest writer in Krakow in 2015, providing her with the creative space required to continue her work as a writer and human rights activist. ICORN is ‘an international network of cities offering writers and human rights advocates refuge’. Krakow City of Literature’s membership with the programme plays an important part in its aim of strengthening the connection between literature and human rights in Poland.
As a prize-winning novelist, columnist, and human rights activist, Aslı Erdoğan has never been one to shy away from controversial issues including torture, human rights violations in prisons, violence against women and Kurdish rights.
She has published seven novels following her debut The Shell Man in 1994. Her second novel, The City in Crimson Cloak, received numerous accolades abroad and has been published in English Language translation, and her latest novel, The Stone Building, received the most prestigious literary award, Sait Faik, in Turkey in 2010. Her other works have been broadly translated into several languages, taking her writing across borders.