Prize-winning novelist and journalist Aslı Erdoğan, who was arrested last week for alleged links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has been trying for the past 15 days to obtain permission to have a sweater in jail, but the prison administration has been ignoring her requests, a main opposition deputy said on Friday.
Speaking during a protest in front of Bakırköy Women’s Prison on Friday, main opposition Republican People’s Party deputy Barış Yarkadaş said the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has been sending a message to the public by imprisoning critical journalists, calling on citizens not to stand up against ruling party.
“While our [journalist] friends are being handcuffed outside, those under arrest are trying to lead their daily lives in prison. However, prison administrations do not even meet the basic needs of jailed journalists, as shown in the case of Aslı Erdoğan, who has been trying to get a sweater for the last 15 days,” Yarkadaş said.
Yarkadaş, a former journalist, underlined that the most basic needs of prisoners such as a coat, pillow or blanket were not being allowed into the prison despite letters to the prison administration.
Erdoğan said in a written interview with the Cumhuriyet daily on Aug. 25 through her lawyer that her treatment in prison could inflict permanent damage on her body.
“They have not given me my medicine for five days. I am a diabetic, and my disease is about to worsen. I must have a special diet, but I can just eat yogurt. … They are treating me in a way that could inflict permanent damage on my body. If I had not been determined to resist, I would never have withstood these conditions,” said Erdoğan, who has been in a cell in Bakırköy Women’s Prison since her arrest on Aug. 19.
Erdoğan, a member of the pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily’s advisory board, was sent to jail on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “undermining national unity.”
Police raided the offices of Özgür Gündem, which has been repeatedly closed down in the past, on Aug. 16. The daily was then temporarily shuttered.