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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.

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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