Aslı Erdoğan: Özgür Gündem writes the truth of the Kurdish people

Jailed author Aslı Erdoğan emphasized that law has been transformed into a tool of intimidation, and said "Principles of law are violated. This is a reflection of Middle Ages’ inquisition."

Jailed author Aslı Erdoğan, member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the closed Özgür Gündem newspaper, appeared in court in the scope of the case where she is prosecuted for "membership to a terrorist organization." Özgür Gündem’s editor in chief Zana Kaya and editor İnan Kızılkaya were not brought to the hearing, which took place at the İstanbul 23rd Heavy Penal Court in Çağlayan, due to ‘lack of vehicles and personnel'. Lawyers Erdal Doğan, Özcan Kılıç and Ayşe Acinikli represented Aslı Erdoğan.

Aslı Erdoğan made the following statement at court:

“I see that law has been transformed into a tool of intimidation. I will make my defense as if ‘law exists.’ I will not explain law to a room full of lawyers and jurists. It is your duty to defend justice. Law cannot only defend the state and politicians. Özgür Gündem is a newspaper that has permission and yellow press card, and was distributed by Turkuvaz Distribution. We are members of the symbolic advisory board of a legal newspaper. We have not convened nor taken any decision during the past 5 years. Principles of law are being violated. The selection of a few words from eight books and hundreds of articles is a reflection of the Middle Ages’ inquisition. Emotions, pain, respect, and conscience are literature. There can be no justice without conscience.

An author realizes him/herself in books. Police has kept my notes and article for months in order to use them as criminal materials. This is a baseless and inconsistent indictment. The only evidence they have for my ‘membership to an organization’ is my participation in the advisory board. I have always expressed that I am an anti-militarist against wars. I have not been sued once or become a ‘sloganist’ author over the past 18 years. I always wrote about torture and prisons. If I become a KCK member with this, there has not been a single organization that has not entered my books.

I believe that we still need publications such as Özgür Gündem. It was born as an alternative to mainstream media that ignored the truth of Kurdish people. Many people such as AKP members Muhsin Kızılkaya and Mehmet Metiner wrote as columnists. Interviews and statements from KCK administrators were published in the mainstream media in 2013 and 2014. The advisory board has no decision authority regarding the newspaper. I am not informed of the articles written with pseudonyms.

I have made history as being the first woman of literature to be prosecuted with ‘aggravated life imprisonment’, which was brought in to replace execution. Those that have accused me of any crime are the people that think that they discovered black holes without having seen the solar system. It is impossible and illogical to control a newspaper from afar. I have not exchanged any commands with anyone. I see solidarity with a silenced newspaper as an ethical stance.”

The hearing continues with the statement of Necmiye Alpay, another member of the newspaper’s Editorial Advisory Board.