Turkish writer Altan prefers 'to die in jail than in exile'

Novel written in prison highly successful

14 January, 16:10

    (ANSAmed) - ISTANBUL, JAN 14 - The writer of international fame Ahmet Altan has ruled out leaving Turkey due to a trial against him, saying that he would rather spend his final days in prison than go into exile.

    Altan told AFP in Istanbul that he would rather spend his last days in a Turkish prison since "being in exile is something I believe is harder than being a prisoner," he said. In exile, "you may be safe and secure ... but you cannot feel like you are (sleeping) in your own bed, in your own home. I'd rather be in prison," he added.

    A Turkish prison is somewhere, he noted, "where I spoke my native language" , not where "you are nearly no one (and) have no roots".

    Freed last spring after a verdict by the European Court of Human Rights after nearly five years in jail for alleged involvement in a failed coup, Turkish journalist and author Altan, 71, wrote his latest novel in the Silivri prison in the outskirts of Istanbul.

    The book, "Lady Life", was released last summer in Italy and a few months ago in Turkey, where it has become a bestseller.

    The experience of writing in jail was very important for Altan, he said.

    "It's kind of saying, 'you couldn't steal those five years from me'," he told AFP.

    The writer had also written a memoir called "I Will Never See the World Again", which was was translated into 28 languages but never published in Turkey.

    "Thirty-eight Nobel laureates -- including JM Coetzee and Kazuo Ishiguro -- published a letter in Britain's Guardian newspaper in 2018 calling on Erdogan to secure the writer's release," AFP noted. (ANSAmed).

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