Turkey’s renowned novelist Asli Erdogan said she has no plan to return Turkey after a court in Istanbul cleared her of terror-related charges on 14 February, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
Erdogan was arrested in 2016 as a part of an investigation into her alleged links to outlawed Kurdish militants. She was released after spending four months in prison and traveled to Germany in 2017 soon after she received her passport back.
Prosecutor office in Istanbul accused Erdogan of several charges including membership of an armed terrorist group and spreading terror propaganda. Erdogan was acquitted of all charges in a long-running case by the Istanbul court on Friday.
Despite her acquittal Erdogan fears she may face some new accusations if she returns, she said in an interview with AFP.
“I cannot return under current circumstances. Another arrest would mean death for me,” she said.
The writer said she faced a life sentence just because her name was put on the literary advisory list of Istanbul-based pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, which was shut down by a post-coup decree in 2016.
More than 130 media outlets were closed by presidential decrees in 2016 following an abortive military coup, under a state of emergency.
After expressing her surprise against the decision, she said she has an impression that silence prevails in Turkey because of the crackdown by the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The award-winning author described Turkey’s current political system as “neo-fascism” and “beyond dictatorship,” citing the ongoing trials against veteran journalist Ahmet Altan and businessman Osman Kavala.
“I do not know what happens behind closed doors, but such kind of irrational cases have no explanation. I see them as part of a strategy,” she said during the interview.
Since the failed 2016 coup, Turkey’s Justice and Development Party regime of President Erdogan has purged thousands of civil servants and cracked down on any dissent under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
The country is ranked among the top jailer states for journalists and faces criticism worldwide due to its growing elimination of freedom of expression.