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The final hear­ing in the  “Özgür Gün­dem tri­al” took place on Feb­ru­ary 14 2020, end­ing in an acquit­tal for Turk­ish nov­el­ist Aslı Erdoğan, accused of “pro­pa­gan­da for a ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion”.

At the time we announced that Aslı Erdoğan, Bilge Oykut and Necmiye Alpay had been acquit­ted while the ordeal was not yet end­ed for the fol­low­ing accused in this Kafkaesque tri­al: Zana Bilir, Inan Kızılka­ya, Eren Keskin and Kemal Sancılı.

In hear­ing of her ver­dict of acquit­tal that day, Aslı had told us: “I am glad to hear it but I don’t trust them. They can start all over again at any time, as they have done for oth­ers.” Oh how right Aslı’s lawyer proved to be when he stat­ed that “the tri­als have  become a full-time sen­tences in themselves.”

A num­ber of intel­lec­tu­als, jour­nal­ists, writ­ers, aca­d­e­mics, defendors of human rights – some of whom have become emblem­at­ic – can­not escape from this spi­ral. There is no need to fol­low my fin­ger in order to see this as per­tains to Eren Keskin, a lawyer and activist for human rights who still stands tall in her integri­ty under the threat of sev­er­al years in prison, and Pınar Selek, the fem­i­nist, ant­i­cap­i­tal­ist and anti­mil­i­tarist soci­ol­o­gist against whom tri­als, acquit­tals and reopen­ing of tri­als have been ongo­ing for 20 years… To men­tion two names among others…

They won’t relent”, we said… And indeed, Aslı’s ver­dict was con­test­ed before an expe­di­tive local tri­bunal (Isti­naf). And on June 10 2021, this tri­bunal pro­nounced a “unan­i­mous” deci­sion “in the name of the Turk­ish Nation”… Aslı has just rece­vied the doc­u­ment announc­ing the ongo­ing nature of her own ordeal… To sum­ma­rize with­out the judi­cial jar­gon, here is what this doc­u­ment tells us (the Turk­ish orig­i­nal is here):

Accord­ing to the indict­ment, the arti­cles under tri­al were also pub­lished on an inter­net plat­form and, in this case, arti­cle 5186 of the Law con­cern­ing the media n° 26 for crimes com­mit­ted via inter­net, not being applic­a­ble, the tri­bunal reached its deci­sion with­out tak­ing these arti­cles under con­sid­er­a­tion and with­out care­ful scruti­ny, with insuf­fi­cient jus­ti­fi­ca­tion. Thus the request by the Repub­lic’s pros­e­cu­tor is con­sid­ered as jus­ti­fied and, accord­ing to arti­cles 280/1‑e and 289/1‑e of the The Code of Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure, it was unan­i­mous­ly decid­ed on 10/06/2021 to annul the deci­sion of acquit­tal, with­out con­sid­er­a­tion of oth­er aspects, and to send the file to the dis­trict tri­bunal, the pre­vi­ous dis­po­si­tions being annulled for a re-examination.”

As for Aslı Erdoğan, she tells us: “At first they put me in prison, and only then did they go search­ing for “evi­dence” for an indict­ment. They includ­ed in the pros­e­cu­tion’s file four arti­cles for which no tri­als had ever been ordered. In fact, up until that point, I had nev­er been pros­e­cut­ed for any of my writ­ings. “The jour­nal of fas­cism: today” for instance, is a lit­er­ary text, an inner monolog fea­tured in my book “Le silence même n’est plus à toi” since pub­lished in French by Actes Sud. This text, which was trans­lat­ed in some thir­ty lan­guages, was also giv­en a stage representation. 

Then, dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings, they removed two of the arti­cles from the indict­ment and replaced them with two oth­ers, includ­ing “75–76” in which I write about assas­si­nat­ed jour­nal­ists. The two arti­cles that were added deal with free­dom of the press. And, frankly, with their approach, the judi­cia­ry,   pro­vides a con­crete illus­tra­tion of what these texts are about…

The re-open­ing of the file is a new stage in a process that has been going on for five years, and con­sti­tutes noth­ing oth­er than a form of real torture.”

This relent­less­ness, ongo­ing for 5 years and in which a sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paign had devel­oped around Aslı Erdoğan and oth­ers, demon­strates how this regime uses judi­cial ter­ror­ism as a tool against its oppo­nents. This being the case, as long as this will per­sist, our sol­i­dar­i­ty will remain indispensable!

We call on all media to echo this lat­est devel­op­ment in the judi­cia­ry actions tak­en against Aslı Erdoğan who is now a refugee in Europe. 


Photography ©Carole Parodi
Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Naz Oke
REDACTION | Journaliste 
Chat de gout­tière sans fron­tières. Jour­nal­isme à l’U­ni­ver­sité de Mar­mara. Archi­tec­ture à l’U­ni­ver­sité de Mimar Sinan, Istanbul.