YEREVAN (Combined Sources) — Istanbul Armenian writer, linguist, journalist and intellectual Sevan Nisanyan, who escaped from a Turkish prison in July after serving 3.5 years in prison, in a recent interview, spoke about his future plans, situation in Turkey and other issues.
It was revealed this week that Nisanyan had applied for political asylum and received a temporary residence permit in Greece.
Nisanyan in the interview explained that he had not “escaped” prison so much as walked away and not returned. “I didn’t actually escape from prison. I was transferred in April to an open institution, a kind of work camp, where we were allowed to take a week off every three months. I went home and did not return. Getting out of the country was more exciting, but I am afraid I cannot say too much about that yet,” he said.
As for his decision to seek to make a life in Greece, he said, “I applied for political asylum in Greece and received a temporary residence permit. The final decision on the asylum application will be made by the Greek authorities in March 2018. I have always admired Greece and felt at home here. I hope to live in an Aegean island which is very close to my home in Sirinçe. We can actually see the island from the hills of my village.”
While Nisanyan said the situation facing the political and judiciary were “bad enough,” he said they were “not yet as bad as the old Soviet Union!”
He added, “Turkey is going through a period of madness. The political situation is frightful, the rule of law has collapsed. This of course affects everyone in the country, including, but not especially, the minorities. I know that the Armenian and especially the Jewish minorities are very worried, and very many of them have made plans to migrate to safer countries.”