Writers' group expresses concern over the health of exiled Turkish novelist
PEN, the writers' advocacy group, has issued a statement expressing concern over the health of exiled Turkish novelist Aslı Erdoğan.
Erdogan was jailed for four months in 2016 for spreading terrorist propaganda through her writing for the now-closed Ozgur Gundem newspaper. Although acquitted, she left Turkey to live in self-imposed exile in Germany.
The Turkish branch of PEN has announced that it is in contact with its German counterparts about Erdogan's situation. She recently underwent severe surgery for a rare illness in Frankfurt, where she is staying under a program to protect writers in danger.
Last year, Erdogan also suffered a cerebral hemorrhage related to her worsening condition. PEN said she faces high medical costs and may soon lose her grant from the Writers' Protection Program.
"As PEN Turkey, we stand by our esteemed writer today as we have throughout her trial and imprisonment," the group said, expressing hope for "a positive outcome as soon as possible."
Rights groups have criticized Turkey's treatment of Erdogan and other writers, journalists, and academics targeted for their work since a 2016 coup attempt. Dozens have fled abroad rather than face prosecution.
PEN said it would continue to advocate for Erdogan's health and safety.