Charged Turkish Novelist Asli Erdogan Gets Passport Back


Turkish authorities have returned celebrated novelist Asli Erdogan's passport and she is expected to travel to Europe soon, more than two months after her travel ban was lifted, her lawyer said Friday.

Erdogan was released in December pending trial after four months in prison on charges of "terror propaganda" on account of her links to a pro-Kurdish newspaper, in a case that caused an international outcry over freedom of expression.

In June, a court lifted a foreign travel ban imposed on Erdogan but she could not get her passport back because her name was still on a list of people forbidden to travel because of alleged links to "terror organizations."

Erdogan, one of the country's leading contemporary novelists, was given her passport on Thursday, her lawyer Erdal Dogan told AFP.

This means she can now start the paperwork to obtain visas for Europe and receive her multiple literary awards, Dogan added.

"She can now travel but first she must get her visa," he said.

Erdogan -- no relation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- was expected in Germany to be awarded the Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize this month, according to literary freedom group Pen International.

Asli Erdogan is still on trial and faces life imprisonment. Her next hearing is due to take place on October 31.

Her arrest and 132-day detention prompted a wave of protests in Turkey and the West, concerned by what critics say are growing restrictions on freedom of expression under the state of emergency imposed after last year's failed coup.