GENEVA, February 19, 2018 – Turkish writer and former political prisoner Asli Erdogan today addressed the United Nations opening of the 10th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy — see quotes below. For links to other speakers’ quotes, videos, photos, livestream, and more, click here.

On speaking for the repressed:

  • “In five years of columnist work, I tried to be the voice of the victims. Not only the Kurds, but blacks, women, prisoners, just to present the story of the victim. If you can do that, it’s more than enough.”

On being arrested:

  • “My apartment was busted by a group of around 50 policemen, ransacked for seven hours. Most of my writings were scattered. I could not put all of it back together.”
  • “I was arrested under Article 302, the heaviest charge in Turkish law – destruction of the unity of the state. To destroy the state you must have an army!”

On justice in Turkey:

  • “I was on the advisory board of Özgür Gündem for five years. In that time there had been hundreds of cases against the paper, but none directed against the advisers. Suddenly, one month after the coup attack this turned into the biggest crime in Turkish history.”
  • “They said the newspaper was PKK. But all the journalists were set free.”
  • “In Turkish law, I am the founder of the PKK, but I was only ten years old when the PKK was founded.”
  • “Esmeralda from the Hunchback of Notre Dame had more justice than I did.”

On repression after the coup:

  • “We thought it was a joke, they would let us go in a few months. No, now they are giving aggravated life sentences to journalists, writers, doctors, lawyers”