Surgery for Turkish novelist after prison hernia

Prize-winning Turkish writer Aslı Erdoğan has been taken to hospital after a neck hernia was deemed a serious threat to her health that could result in lifelong health problems without immediate surgery.

Erdoğan is known abroad as a literary writer; her works, including the 2009 short story collection “The Stone Building” have been translated into several languages including English, and she has worked as a representative for the international writers’ association PEN.

It was her work as a columnist for the pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, though, that landed Erdoğan in prison when the newspaper was raided in August 2016.

Erdoğan was held in prison for 136 days, during which time she was reportedly denied exercise outdoors and treatment for several medical complaints, as well as her medicine for diabetes. Issues with her neck began during Erdoğan’s stay in prison, where she was denied an appropriate pillow to give it support and was kept in a cold cell, exacerbating the problem.

Doctors have warned that unless surgery is performed immediately, there is a risk that Erdoğan will be rendered bedridden for life.

Erdoğan has received numerous honours, including the Simone de Beauvoir Prize for human rights in 2018.