An İstanbul court on Wednesday sentenced prominent Turkish novelist and editor-in-chief of the now-closed Taraf newspaper Ahmet Altan to an additional five years, 11 months in prison on terror-related charges.
The ruling came one week after Altan was sentenced by another court to aggravated life imprisonment without the possibility of parole on Feb. 16, 2018 over alleged involvement in a 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government.
The İstanbul 26th High Criminal Court, hearing trials in the Silivri Prison Complex, on Feb. 16 handed down aggravated life sentences to prominent journalist Ahmet Altan; his brother Mehmet Altan, an economics professor and columnist; well-known journalist and writer Nazlı Ilıcak; two former employees of the now-closed Zaman newspaper, brand marketing manager Yakup Şimşek and art director Fevzi Yazıcı; and former Police Academy lecturer Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül.
Altan was this time convicted of allegedly disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and was given three years in prison on that charge. The same court also handed down a sentence of two years, 11 months for allegedly insulting President Erdoğan.
Meanwhile, 38 Nobel laureates published an open letter to Erdoğan in The Guardian newspaper calling for a halt to what they termed the unlawful detention and wrongful conviction of writers and thinkers.
Among the examples given by the letter’s 38 authors, who included novelists JM Coetzee and Kazuo Ishiguro, was the recent sentencing of journalists and writers Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak to life in prison.