Journalist and author Ahmet Altan has been sentenced to life in prison without parole. Following the coup attempt of 2016, the Turkish government under President Erdogan instated a state of emergency and began a series of purges that have seen more than 150,000 people fired, detained or arrested. Ahmet was just one of the journalists and writers that have been tried – one of the charges against him was that he had appeared on television to share subliminal messages in support of the coup.
While he was awaiting trial he wrote the essay ‘The Writer’s Paradox’ – now he’s written another essay in the New York Times about his verdict and the cruel absurdity of the situation he is facing. It begins:
“They sit on a bench that is two meters high. They wear black robes with red collars. In a few hours they will decide my destiny. I look at them. They have loosened their ties out of boredom.”