Smuggled out of prison, “The Writer’s Paradox” is an entry from the book I Will Never See the World Again, written by Ahmet Altan during his initial incarceration at Silivri prison outside Istanbul. The essays reached translator Yasemin Çongar one-by-one over a period of seven months between November 2017 and May 2018, arriving among the personal notes Altan gave to his lawyers during their visits in prison. I Will Never See the World Again has since been translated into French, Spanish, German, English, and other languages, marking the first time that his work was published in foreign languages before it was in his native Turkish.
Ahmet Altan, his brother Mehmet, an economist, and fellow journalist Nazlı Ilıcak were accused of sending “subliminal messages” to Gülenist supporters while being interviewed on a TV talk show following a failed coup d’etat in 2016. Charged with attempting to overthrow the “constitutional order,” among a host of other potentially treasonous offenses, they were convicted by the High Criminal Court in Istanbul and given life sentences, only for the charges to be overturned a year later by the same court. Mehmet was acquitted in 2019, while Ahmet and Nazlı’s sentences were suspended on the basis of time served and released. A week later the Supreme Court of Appeals overruled its decision and issued an order to re-arrest Ahmet Altan, who now sits in prison awaiting another trial.
2 August, 2022