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Published On: Sat, Sep 9th, 2017

With months of delay, Turkish author Asli Erdogan gets her passport back

nsnbc : The award-winning Turkish novellist Asli Erdogan is expected to be able to travel to Europe soon, two months after her travel ban was lifted, said her lawyer on Friday.

Asli Erdogan_Turkey_Sep 2017_Germany_Asli Erdogan’s lawyer, Erdal Dogan, told reporters that Ash Erdogan was given her passport back on September 7. “This means she can now start the paperwork to obtain visas for Europe and receive her multiple literary awards. … She can now travel but first she must get her visa,” he said.

Asli Erdogan was to accept the prestigious Erich Maria Remarque Peace prize in the German city of Osnabrück on September 22. nsnbc is not currently informed whether she can travel to Germany in time to receive the award, if the award ceremony will be delayed, or if someone else will accept the prize on her behalf.

The 50-year-old Asli Erdogan is one of Turkey’s most prominent novelists. She was arrested last summer and kept in jail for 132 days on charges of carrying out “terror propaganda” in a probe into the now closed daily Özgür Gündem, which Ankara condemned as “mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).

Countless citizens have been charged and convicted on similar charges where criticizing the decision by the Islamist AKP government to unilaterally end the ceasefire with the PKK and end peace talks is sufficient to be charged with “propaganda for a terrorist organization. It is a situation not unlike the situation in West Germany between the 1970s – 1990s where citizens could be jailed for printing or distributing statements and texts issued by militant leftist organizations.

Asli Erdogan was released in December 2016 but as the charges were ongoing she was given a travel ban, hindering her participation in five award ceremonies abroad up to now. The travel ban was lifted by a court order on June 22, but because the authorities had not yet returned her passport it was expected that she would not be able to attend the September ceremony in Osnabrück.

“Following the lifting of the travel ban, I applied to the police to get my passport back. They asked for a court order indicating that my ban on my passport was lifted. The court, however, said there was no such ban and my passport was perhaps not returned within the context of the state of emergency and state of emergency decrees. They said they would look into it during the trial to be held on Oct. 31,” Erdogan said.

“Do I have a ban on my passport? Who placed the ban? I cannot find anything out. This month my book comes out in three countries: Italy, Germany, and Denmark … I have already missed so many interviews over the past year,” she added.

The Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize has been handed out in the German city of Osnabrück, named after the author of the World War I classic “All Quiet on the Western Front,” every two years since 1991. It goes to writers who have demonstrated a commitment to peace.

CH/L – nsnbc 09.09.2017

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