Mar 19 2018

No chance to defend myself – Deniz Yücel

German journalist Deniz Yücel, who was released after more than a year in Turkish prison, described his ordeal and how it feels to be free again in an interview with Doris Akrap Daniel and Dylan Böhmer from German Newspaper Taz.

Turkish President Recep “Tayyip Erdoğan and others did not give me the chance to defend myself in front of a court,” he said in relation to the charges he faced, which included, "making propaganda for a terrorist organisation" and "inciting people to hatred and hostility". The charges carried sentences of up to 14 years.

Stating that he struggled with fear, anger and depression whilst in prison, as well as the fear that he had been forgotten about during his first weeks of captivity, Yücel described how he had written an article and had it smuggled out of prison.

“Papers and pens were forbidden,” he said, “but I managed to get hold of a pen and wrote about my conditions in a copy of the “Little Prince” and then had it smuggled out of prison to my newspaper. Doing that gave me strength for the months of solitary confinement that followed.”

Describing how it felt to be free again, he said, “In prison, the courtyard door was locked at night. I did not see a star for a year, or the sky without a wire mesh in front of it. Now when I see the sky, I think, ‘There’s no wire mesh, I should notify the (prison) authorities ... Now I realise how precious things are that just seemed ordinary before.”