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Journalist Aslı Erdoğan fears permanent injury from prison stay

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Prize-winning novelist and journalist Aslı Erdoğan, who was arrested last week for alleged links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), has said that her treatment in prison could inflict permanent damage to her body.


“They have not given me my medicine for five days. I am a diabetic, and my disease is about to worsen. I must have a special diet, but I can just eat yogurt. … They are treating me in a way that could inflict permanent damage on my body. If I had not been determined to resist, I would never have withstood these conditions,” said Erdoğan, who has been in a cell in Bakırköy Women’s Prison since her arrest on Aug. 19.


Erdoğan, a member of the pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily’s advisory board, was sent to jail on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “undermining national unity.”


Police raided the offices of Özgür Gündem, which has been repeatedly closed down in the past, on Aug. 16. The daily was then temporarily shuttered.


Erdoğan answered questions from a Cumhuriyet daily reporter through her lawyer.


The author said she is being made to sleep on a bed full of urine stains and that she has never been allowed to use the open-air part of the prison where inmates are permitted for a certain time every day to get some fresh air.


Erdoğan said although writers like to be in a quiet place and alone, she wants to be moved to the part of the prison for political prisoners due to the harsh conditions she has been exposed to in the cell.


Reports say thousands of people who were arrested following a foiled military coup on July 15 are being subjected to maltreatment and even torture in prison. There is currently a state of emergency in Turkey that was declared in the aftermath of the coup attempt.


Auschwitz tattoo


Erdoğan plans to have a tattoo applied to her left wrist after she is released from prison, recalling a Nazi practice with female inmates of the Auschwitz concentration camp.


“The tattoo will be the date of the police raid on my home: 16.08.16,” she said.


One hundred two journalists are currently under arrest or in custody in Turkey, PEN International reported last week. Out of the 79 arrests in total, 46 have been made since the coup attempt and 33 journalists have been under arrest since before the putsch.


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