Free Turkish novelist Asli Erdoğan!!
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Turkish police arrested novelist Asli Erdoğan on 16th August 2016 in a raid on her apartment after a Turkish court ordered the temporary closure of newspaper Özgür Gündem. Erdoğan is on the advisory board of the newspaper. The closure is part of an intense state-of-emergency crackdown in response to a failed coup attempt on 15th July 2016, reported Hurriyet Daily News on 17th August 2016. “Freemuse is deeply worried by the arrest of Aslı Erdoğan and the widespread persecution of artists, journalists and citizens by Turkish authorities,” Freemuse executive director Ole Reitov said. “Turkey already had a bad track record of stifling its citizen’s artistic freedoms before this state of emergency; now, authorities are employing troubling tactics to cast a wide net over anyone deemed ‘undesirable’ under the guise of state protection, exactly at a time when people’s expressions need to be heard.”
Aslı Erdoğan’s arrest came alongside the arrest of over 20 other journalists and staff members of the newspaper and other media outlets. Özgür Gündem, meaning Free Agenda, was founded in 1992 and reports on the Kurdish-Turkish conflict. Due to its focus, the newspaper frequently comes under investigation, has its correspondents arrested and fined.
Since the attempted coup led by military officials, a three-month state of emergency was put into effect giving president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his cabinet the power to draft new laws, restrict or suspend freedoms and make arrests without going through parliament or being challenged by the constitutional court. Freemuse joins fellow human rights organisations PEN International and Committee to Protect Journalists in calling for the immediate release of Aslı Erdoğan and all her fellow journalists. This award-winning writer has released several novels, stories, poems and essays, and wrote columns for newspapers Radikal and Özgür Gündem that touched on taboo topics, such as torture, women’s rights and Kurdish issues. She was also a speaker at the first World Conference on Artistic Freedom of Expression held in Oslo, Norway in 2012, and organised by Freemuse and Fritt Ord.
Please, sign this petition. Asli is the word of all our Words and Rights. She has been jailed. Your signature is now more necessary than ever. Your signature means her freedom.
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