Turkey lifts travel ban on charged novelist

Istanbul

A Turkish court on Thursday lifted a foreign travel ban imposed on one of the country’s leading contemporary novelists after she was put on trial on charges of supporting “terror” groups.
The move by the Istanbul court will allow Asli Erdogan to travel abroad and receive prizes she has been unable to collect due the ban.
However she remains on trial on charges of “terror propaganda” for outlawed Kurdish groups in a case denounced by freedom of expression groups, with the next hearing due on October 31, her lawyer Erdal Dogan told AFP.
Erdogan, 50, was arrested last summer and held for 132 days on terror propaganda charges during a probe into the now-closed Ozgur Gundem newspaper, which Ankara condemned as a mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
She was released in December but the charges were kept in place and the travel ban maintained until now.
The travel ban of the prominent Turkish translator Necmiye Alpay, 70, who is on trial in the same case, was also lifted.
The novelist’s detention sparked an international outcry and amplified concern over freedom of expression in the wake of last July’s failed coup which sought to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. She was charged over three articles written for Ozgur Gundem last year on the situation in the Kurdish-majority southeast where Turkish armed forces are battling the PKK, which is listed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
If convicted, Erdogan—no relation to the president—could still face life imprisonment. Erdogan has published several well-received novels including “The City in Crimson Cloak”, which has been translated into English. She was among the laureates of the 2017 Princess Margriet Award for Culture and was unable to attend the awards ceremony in Amsterdam on May 9 due to the travel ban.—AFP

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