Author Aslı Erdoğan and linguist Necmiye Alpay have been released from prison after appearing in court today in a trial involving the pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily, which has been shut down and accused of terrorist links and propaganda.
“Tomorrow I will be here for a vigil. Saturday I will go to Cumhuriyet. A vigil with the title ‘freedom for female captives’ should be put into practice here,” said Alpay, speaking to the press after her release from Bakırköy Prison on Thursday evening.
“I am more attached to life than four-and-a-half months ago. I was thinking during those four-and-a-half months, but I could not find an answer to the question of “Why did they get me?” I still think it was a mistake. They mistook me for another person,” said Erdoğan.
Erdoğan has spent the last 132 days under arrest pending trial, while Alpay has been incarcerated for 121 days. Based on the court decision, they are banned from travelling abroad.
Prominent author Erdoğan started her defense in the hearing on Thursday, saying that she would make her case on the assumption that the rule of law exists in Turkey.
Erdoğan said her role at the paper was symbolic and that its advisory board had not made any decisions in the last five years. She added that she is being prosecuted on charges of membership in a terrorist organization “for a few sentences that had been taken out of context.”
Renowned writer Erdoğan and linguist Alpay are included in the indictment for serving as editorial board advisors of the pro-Kurdish newspaper along with seven other journalists. The indictment portrayed Özgür Gündem as a publication of “the terrorist organization,” in reference to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ragıp Zarakolu, Filiz Kocaeli and deputy chairman of the Human Rights Association (İHD) lawyer Eren Keskin are also being tried in the same case.
Before the hearing started, deputies from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Barış Yarkadaş and Sezgin Tanrıkulu protested the arrest of novelist Erdoğan and linguist Alpay.