Turkey: Serious concerns for health of writer and activist Asli Erdogan: denied water & medication

Asli Erdogan (Foto: Gürcan Öztürk/Union-Verlag)

Asli Erdogan (Picture: Gürcan Öztürk/Union-Verlag)

PEN International is deeply concerned for the health of novelist and human rights activist Asli Erdogan, following an interview via her legal team in which she stated that she is being denied medication and water.

In an interview given from the detention centre where she is being held, Erdogan – who suffers from asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes – said that she is being held in awful conditions and has been denied essential medication for five days, as well as requests for water.

PEN International considers the conditions of Asli Erdogan’s  detention wholly unacceptable and calls on the Turkish authorities to immediately provide better conditions, ensure immediate access to medication and to her doctors as a matter of extreme urgency.

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Send Appeals to the Turkish authorities:

  • Expressing serious concern for the health of Asli Erdogan and urging that she be given full access to water and all necessary medical care as a matter of urgency;

·         Urging them to immediately release Aslı Erdoğan who PEN believes is held solely in connection with their peaceful exercise of their right to freedom of expression;

·         Calling for all detained writers and journalists to have access to lawyers and to be released if they are not to be charged with a recognizably criminal offence and tried promptly in accordance with international fair trial standards;

·         Calling on them not to use the state of emergency to crack down on peaceful dissent, civil society, media and education;

Please send appeals reiterating PEN’s calls (listed above) to:

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Cumhurbaşkanlığı Külliyesi
06560 Beştepe-Ankara
Tel : (+90 312) 525 55 55
Fax : (+90 312) 525 58 31
E-mail: contact [at] tccb.gov [dot] tr
Email: receptayyip.erdogan [at] basbakanlik.gov [dot] tr
Facebook:’ ‘.((strlen(‘https://www.facebook.com/RecepTayyipErdogan’)>40) ? substr(‘https://www.facebook.com/RecepTayyipErdogan’,0,40).’…’ : ‘https://www.facebook.com/RecepTayyipErdogan’).’
Twitter: @RT_Erdogan


Please copy your appeals to the Embassy of Turkey in your country.  A list of embassies can be found here.

Please send us copies of your letters or information about other activities and of any responses received.

You can also sign this letter online here.




PEN members are encouraged to publish articles and opinion pieces in your national or local press highlighting the case of Aslı Erdoğan and the situation of freedom of expression in Turkey. Please also consider adopting her as an honorary member of your Centre.



Aslı Erdoğan, a renowned novelist, columnist and human rights activist, in Turkey was detained on 17 August following a police raid into her apartment. Her arrest comes alongside more than 20 other journalists and employees from Özgür Gündem newspaper, a pro-Kurdish opposition daily, which was shut down by decree as part of the state of emergency in the country following the failed coup of 15 July 2016. Two further journalists from IMC TV, who were reporting on the raid, were also arrested. Erdoğan serves as an advisory board member and columnist in the paper.

Aslı Erdoğan’s first novel, Kabuk Adam (Crust Man), was published in 1994 and since published seven books. Her short story Wooden Birds received first prize from Deutsche Welle radio in a 1997 competition and her second novel, Kirmizi Pelerinli Kent (The City in Crimson Cloak), received numerous accolades abroad and has been published in 15 languages. Her texts have also been translated to French and in 2005 she was shortlisted by respected French literary magazine, Lire, as one of the “50 most promising authors of tomorrow.”

PEN International has documented at least 97 writers and journalists in custody as of 22 August 2016.

For further information please contact Sahar Halaimzai at PEN International, Koops Mill Mews, 162-164 Abbey Street, London SE1 2AN, Tel.+ 44 (0) 20 7405 0338, Fax: +44 (0) 20 7405 0339, email: Sahar.halaimzai [at] pen-international [dot] org