Can Dündar: Last year we campaigned for Aslı and this year for Ahmet
Journalist Can Dündar spoke Evrensel Daily about the present situation in Turkey and his last book 'Vatan Haini' (Traitor) which is about his exile.
At the Frankfurt book fair, we talked with Can Dündar, who took part in a lot of discussions and activities about his latest work. Dündar said that Turkey has always been a part of the German agenda. “Last year we had a meeting for Aslı Erdoğan and this year for Ahmet Şık.
He spoke about his new book “Vatan Haini” (Traitor) which is about his exile.
You are at the Frankfurt book fair and took part in a lot of events. Turkey is on top of the agenda of the book fair. What is your opinion about it?
I was here last year as well and it was even more intense then. Turkey has always been on the agenda in this country and has a part in German politics. Last year Aslı Erdoğan was in prison. We had a meeting to set her free, so is she, and is nowhere. This year we had meetings with her for the release of Ahmet Şık. Unfortunately, like Ahmet said “the god of fascism changes but the ideology is still the same”.
Could we say that now you are a bit lucky?
Yes, I was in prison, I even saw the bullet in the face. If it could be described as lucky, yes, I escaped from that. I’m not sure if you can see that as big luck. But people need to know that it’s not heaven outside of Turkey. Because Germany is the country where the Turkish Intelligence Service is working quite intensely. We should also remind people Erdoğan's words: “Strangle those traitors wherever you see them.” In fact, you have to deal with a vindictive leader like Erdoğan, and you have to be prepared to face this persecution in any part of the world.
'WE WILL PUBLISH THE BOOKS WHICH ARE NOT PUBLISHED IN TURKEY'
This year a great number of Turkish journalists, authors and publishers were commended for various prizes. Could we see that as reinforced international support?
People, at last, understand what is happening in Turkey, and what kind of person Erdoğan is. And they are in true solidarity. But I have to say that this started only since the arrest of Deniz Yücel and Peter Steudner.
Are you saying that they only began to take action when their own citizens got arrested?
Unfortunately, yes, but it’s also understandable why it is so. I mean how much attention do we pay to those journalists who were killed in Mexico or those newspapers which were closed down in Poland? It is true that you react to something when it concerns someone you know. That is also what happened here. I guess Germany has understood what we have been going through when their own citizens were involved in it.
Can you tell us about your plans for the future?
We’ve set up a news portal, “Özgürüz”, and begun to publish a monthly journal with detailed analysis on Turkey. We’re planning to open a publishing company to print books which couldn’t be released in Turkey. Whatever I have learned in life I am trying to do them here as well, publishing books and magazines, online publications, and use of Periscope. In other words, we are trying every avenue to express the truth. For the future, we are planning to set up a radio and a television channel. In fact, we have already made an application for a radio station.
'IN MY BOOK, I AM DEPICTING MY TIME IN EXILE'
Looking at your plans, you look like you are here to stay.
I can go back tomorrow. Turkey is a country full of surprises. Four years ago no one could foresee the Gezi protests. Similarly, no one could see a coup were in the making last year. I think no one can see what happens tomorrow.
Your new book “Vatan Haini” (Traitor) has just been published. Can you tell us about it?
I wrote what I experienced in Germany in the past year. It is about my time in exile, what I have experienced, my observations, German society and the situation of those who are in exile.
What were the first reactions?
It has been a week since it was published. I had quite a few talks with the German press in the last couple of days. The reactions I got were very good.
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