Turkey: renowned author and activist Aslı Erdoğan imprisoned

English PEN is extremely concerned that renowned author and activist Aslı Erdoğan has been imprisoned in Turkey and reportedly faces charges of ‘membership of a terrorist organisation’ and ‘undermining national unity.’

Aslı Erdoğan, a columnist and member of Özgür Gündem’s ‘symbolic‘ advisory board, was detained following raids on both her apartment and the newspaper offices last week. While many of her colleagues have since been released, Erdoğan and two others, editor-in-chief Zana Kaya and newsroom editor İnan Kızılkaya, continue to be held.

Erdoğan is an award-winning novelist and short story writer.  Named one of the 50 most promising authors of the future by French literary magazine Lire, her work has been translated into 15 different languages. She is also a prominent human rights activist and PEN member.

Maureen Freely, President of English PEN, stated:

With the arrest of one of the nation’s most celebrated and internationally known authors, we can see that no poet, novelist, or playwright is safe in [President] Erdoğan’s Turkey.

PEN continues to call for the immediate release of all those detained following the raid on Özgür Gündem solely in connection with their work or peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression.


  • Read and share Aslı Erdoğan’s writing, including this translation of ‘The Prisoner’, translated by Deniz Perin, published by Words Without Borders.
  • Read and share this statement of support for Aslı Erdoğan, signed by more than 100 writer fellow writers in Turkey. Supporters will also be gathering outside the prison where she is being held on a daily basis to hold a ‘Freedom Watch for Aslı‘, while fellow writers will be writing articles in a dedicated column, ‘Aslı’s Friends‘, in new daily Özgürlükçü Demokrasi (Libertarian Democracy).
  • Sign the petition for Aslı Erdoğan’s release on change.org

  • Send a message of support directly to Aslı Erdoğan at the following address:Aslı Erdoğan
    Bakırköy Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
  • Write to the Turkish authorities:

– Urging them to immediately release Aslı Erdoğan who PEN believes is held solely in connection with their peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression;

– Calling for all detained writers and journalists to have access to lawyers and to be released if they are not to be charged with a recognisably criminal offence and tried promptly in accordance with international fair trial standards.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Cumhurbaşkanlığı Külliyesi
06560 Beştepe-Ankara
Tel : (+90 312) 525 55 55
Fax : (+90 312) 525 58 31
E-mail: contact@tccb.gov.tr
Email: receptayyip.erdogan@basbakanlik.gov.tr

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RecepTayyipErdogan
Twitter: @RT_Erdogan

Please copy your appeals to the Embassy of Turkey in your country.  A list of embassies can be found here. Please send us copies of your letters or information about other activities and of any responses received.


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This content is published by the English PEN staff.

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2 Comments on “Turkey: renowned author and activist Aslı Erdoğan imprisoned”

  1. This arrest is not simply unjust, but entirely absurd. LOcking up writers never changed anything anywhere….
    She needs to be released ASAP

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