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HomeHeadlineTurkish Novelist Aslı Erdoğan: Our Voice Has Been Masterfully Silenced in Germany

Turkish Novelist Aslı Erdoğan: Our Voice Has Been Masterfully Silenced in Germany

After serving four months in prison on charges of “terrorist propaganda” for her symbolic editorship at Özgür Gündem newspaper, writer Aslı Erdoğan moved to Germany and stated, “I believe our voice has been masterfully silenced in Germany. Not through physical violence, breaking, or imprisoning like in Turkey. My voice would have been more heard there. Here, I can say whatever I want, yet no one listens. It’s as if I am speaking to the stars. We have been skillfully manipulated.”

In an interview with Avrupa Postası, Aslı Erdoğan, despite receiving the title of knight from Germany, revealed that she is still trying to obtain a residence permit, which is only half-tourist status. She expressed her thoughts, saying, “In the last three years, I have been hospitalized 11 times, struggling with illnesses, but PEN did not renew the scholarship they provided. There were people and institutions who profited from me, but they have disappeared. I feel a bit used.”

“They Finally Silenced Me”

Erdoğan further mentioned, “I used to say I would write under any circumstances, but they finally silenced me. I know the time when I was defeated. A certain breaking point begins in prison. Turkish was always my home. I never felt at home in Turkey, but I existed in that language. The first break started in prison. In prison, Turkish turned into the language of oppression with court documents, papers, and orders pouring in.”

“Exile Is a Major Break, I’m Forgetting Turkish”

“Exile is a much bigger break; those who haven’t experienced it can’t understand. I have been exiled even from my own language. I am far from my own library. Everything I wrote in 20 years remains in Istanbul. It is almost impossible to rebuild them here. I am also forgetting Turkish. I have lost it; I mostly speak and read English. I entered a kind of period of silence. In the last three years, I have been hospitalized eleven times, and I can’t take it anymore.”

“Excluded by PEN”

Aslı Erdoğan stated that there was a bargaining between Turkey and Germany and revealed that she was also excluded by PEN, one of the most respected organizations in the literary world. Despite her illness, her scholarship was not renewed. She expressed, “I also feel a bit used. My criticism is more towards France than Turkey. While I was in prison, my book sold 70 thousand copies in France, and awards poured in. Two years later, it was like, ‘Okay, we’re done with that, the trend has passed.’ There were people and institutions who profited from me, but they have disappeared. That also hurts, of course. Being thrown into a corner, when you haven’t solved any problems in your life… The former French culture minister was my publisher. He could have easily arranged a residence permit for me. Everyone thinks my life is very easy. I have a friend living in France; she uses much harsher words than me. She says, ‘Everyone benefited from your light, then they forgot about you, tossed you aside.’ Life expands, and I didn’t want to stay in that light too much. I refused to play the role of a released prisoner writer. I was also hurt to some extent. While my life could have taken a new turn with small things, it didn’t happen on a French level. I should have my share in it. I feel somewhat pushed aside.”

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