Turkish court acquits renowned novelist Erdoğan of terror charges

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PHOTO: AFP

A Turkish court on Friday acquitted renowned novelist Aslı Erdoğan on charges of membership in an armed terrorist organization in a case that sparked international condemnation, AFP reported.

The court in İstanbul also acquitted Erdoğan, who is living in exile in Germany, of disrupting the unity of the state and dropped charges of spreading terrorist propaganda.

Erdoğan, whose books have been translated into various languages, was an occasional columnist for the pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgur Gündem, which was shut down after a failed 2016 coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkish authorities accused the paper — where Aslı worked as a literary adviser — of being a mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), considered a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies.

The court also acquitted two other defendants, including linguist Necmiye Alpay.

The 52-year-old Erdoğan — who is not related to the Turkish president — was held in pre-trial detention for four months in 2016 but later released.

She did not attend Friday’s hearing but in a statement read by her lawyer Erdal Doğan, Erdoğan said her columns did not contain any violent element.

“Their political content is limited to human rights violations,” she said, adding that the accusations based on her literary texts “trampled on the values of both law and literature.”

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