Internationally known Turkish author Aslı Erdoğan, who is currently in jail, said that due to rumors of revolts in prisons she and other inmates stayed on alert for five days, in a written interview for an Italian daily.
Erdoğan, who was imprisoned on charges of alleged terrorism for sitting on the advisory board of the now-closed-down pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily, said that after a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy warned against a revolt in prisons and the lynching of “terrorists,” she and other inmates were constantly on watch at the Bakırköy Prison for Women in İstanbul.
Aslı Erdoğan, who suffers from health issues, complained about limited access to doctors and medicine and said she was being held in prison illegally. As far as the country’s increasingly oppressive President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is concerned, Aslı Erdoğan remains vocal in her criticism. “He cannot tolerate even the slightest criticism and directs his rage and revenge at intellectuals,” she said.
The jailed author urged Europe to remember the values that make Europe what it is. She said that although Europe has leverage against Turkey, it turns a blind eye to what is happening in the country. Erdoğan stated that Turkey has been using helpless refugees as a means of blackmail«.
In addition to Erdoğan, there are nearly 150 journalists in prisons in Turkey. The exact number cannot be determined, according to official statements.
Although Erdoğan and other internationally known individuals such as Kadri Gürsel and Ahmet Altan receive support from around the world, many junior or lesser-known journalists complain about being forgotten in prison through their messages to the outside world.
Turkey has been a jailer of journalists for decades. Yet, the new wave started with a crackdown on the now-closed Zaman daily and Samanyolu TV in December 2014, which resulted in the imprisonment of the television station’s president Hidayet Karaca. The incarceration of journalists gained unprecedented speed following a failed coup on July 15, with many reporters accused of coup plotting or terrorist links.