Perihan Magden is one of Turkey's most widely read young authors. Turkey's Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk called her "one of the most inventive and outspoken writers of our time." She is also a regular columnist for daily Radikal, criticizing the military's influence in politics and the militarization of Turkish society.
Magden's most recent novel, "2 Girls", became a bestseller in Turkey and was translated also into English and German.
Magden is one of Turkey's most intrepid columnists and, as such, the target of numerous lawsuits. One article which brought her into confrontation with the state was her defence of Mehmet Tarhan, jailed for his refusal to perform mandatory military service. Turkey has not yet introduced the possibility for conscientious objectors to avoid service.
"Every human has a right not to kill. And if you are doing your military service in Turkey there is a big chance that you might be killing someone, because there is an ongoing war in the Southeast of Turkey since 30 years. So I write this article. And the head of the army made a complaint to the prosecutor."
Some of Magden's earlier trials were attended by ultra-nationalist groups. In fact, some of those who showed up at her trials were later arrested on charges of belonging to the Ergenekon terror group. When the arrests took place in early 2008 Magden felt vindicated:
"I feel relief, I feel fairness, I feel justice. I feel like good will prevail. And I feel good for my country. This is like the cleansing of Turkey, a detox for Turkey. It was killing us, it was wrapped around our neck, it was starting to suffocate us – this fascism, this deep state. This is like breathing in and out much more comfortably."
Magden was already sentenced twice to probation and has several other pending court cases. In case of a third conviction, she would have to go to prison. This has not prevented her from speaking her mind.