Four articles by Aslı Erdoğan were used in the Turkish State’s indictment against her. Kedistan published them in support for the campaign to obtain her freedom.

Writer Aslı Erdoğan was detained as of August 16 2016 in Istanbul’s Bakırköy prison while awaiting sentencing. The charges called for life imprisonment. She was released on

The English versions you are reading are derived from translations from Turkish to French done by Kedistan during the period of her imprisonment. As such, they do not claim to be faithful renditions of Asli Erdogan’s originals and are provided as a means for English speakers to familiarize themselves with the conditions Aslı Erdoğan described…and how the texts were used against her by the Turkish government.


Français | English

Article published 17 June 2016

History Readings by a Madman

How can I say, the paradigm was clear and simple at the time, agreed to by everyone, it matched up with reality. In this “homogenous” period (end of the eighties, nineties), on the genesis of which the historians can’t agree,  the “Kurdish question” didn’t exist, for example, because the “Kurd” didn’t exist yet. Those tribes  that spoke Turkish poorly, chewing on the words, were known from far back, they were mountaineers, wore the saroual, were crazy about firearms, and feudal. In those days when photos of Kenan Evren disappeared from the walls, they had gone up to the mountain and had never completely come back down again, they massacred babies as soon as they had a chance to,  but this business was going to stop “by end of summer at the latest.” In the Western medias who did not accept our power, “strange” news circulated: towns were put under blockade, machine gunned for days on end, troops opened fire on crowds at funerals, people became lost; a mentally handicapped child was tied to an armored car and dragged for wearing a bracelet with three colors. Those were really strange news… Armenians were no longer in the news, we knew that after they had set fires  and wreaked destruction with their gangs, they had lost hope of beating the Turks, and had left these lands in a mass. In fact, this was the advice given to all those who did not love this country.

At the beginning of the millenium, Turkey was ready for the great transformation, while the rest of the world awaited the great bug that was going to move the date back on their computers by a hundred years, whereas we awaited our transformation with bated breath. Turkey was great, it was going to grow, it belonged to the Turks, it was going to democratize. The end of authoritarian regimes was close, it was advancing, in small steps, but great ones for humanity.

At last, on one fine day, everything changed. Althought the first Kurd had not yet been dragged off to jail, or lynched for speaking Kurdish in public, had not yet identified as such, the word “Kurdish” had entered the public space, and taken possession of the dominant medias. The theory stating that Kurdish was an Ottoman dialect was announced in 2006 at the latest. That same year, for a sentence he had constructed without a single spelling mistake, a Turkish writer 1received the Nobel prize. Most Turks considered he should have given back the prize. The Nobel winner was judged as were several other persons that year, under the same articles of the penal code, and he was acquitted. From then on, de facto and ipso jure, he benefited from freedom of expression in Turkey.

When the “Law to fight terrorism” concluded that persons who defended  the same viewpoints as “the terrorist organization” did were also terrorists, we were in the process of celebrating across the country our liberation from the military yoke. Within five years, one third of the “terrorist criminals” in the world were incarcerated in Turkish prisons. During that time, we had voted to find out if the liberation from the military yoke was sufficient or not, we had also rid ourselves of the deep state. Despite the resistance of those who were reticent about autonomy, Turkey was changing, and giving the whole world the finger. Those were the days when Kurds were discovered to “be brothers”, everyone was in the streets, we beat world records on the use of tear gas. Our arms industry was nationalized, thanks to TOMA,2courage was back. Our entrance into Damascus was a matter of days. Even the most sceptical, when they heard that the order to bomb 32 Kurdish smugglers on the frontier3was given by a civilian, agreed that, really, we couldn’t call this a “military yoke” anymore.  We knew the Kurds were brothers, but we had trouble calling them civilians…Civilians again, one or two,  were going to decide what crimes the military had committed against civilians, thus our “civilization” would attain its utmost limits.

In 2016, during a funeral ceremony4far away, a rabbi said Turkey must stop killing the Kurds, this speech was served up in the dominant medias under the title “A strange speech”.  If the United States have a white house, we have a colorful palace, and the whole world knew that the days when we received orders, instructions and lessons in morals were left far behind.


To reach the four articles and more, click on this file

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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