Turkey Unfairly Cancelled Peace-Seeking Academics’ Passports: Court

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, January 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE/RONALD WITTEK

The three faculty members' passports were withdrawn following the state of emergency declared by the authorities after the attempted coup in July 2016 in Turkey.

The Turkish government ordered the detention and arrest of dozens of signatories of the so-called Academics for Peace petition and accused them of being responsible for propaganda for a terrorist organisation.

The passport withdrawal was reversed after two years and eight months for Alphan Telek and Edgar Sar and three years and ten months for Zeynep Kivilcim.

Telek told BIRN that because he and his colleague Sar could not go abroad, they could not take up opportunities to study for a doctorate that they were offered in Europe.

"I was accepted by Paris Institute for Political Studies, Science Po in Paris and Sar was accepted by European University Institute in Florence," Telek said.

Kilvicim, the other plaintiff, who lives in Germany, said that "her inability to obtain a valid passport caused difficulties for her in her private and professional life during a stay in a foreign country", according to the ECHR.

After the failed coup, 406 of the signatories of the Academics for Peace petition were dismissed from their offices at public universities under presidential decrees as part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's growing crackdown on his critics.

Telek was one of them, but a Turkish court cancelled the presidential decree dismissing him last week, just before the ECHR decision.

"I was working as a research assistant at the Yildiz Technical University's Political Science and International Relations Department. I am happy, we are relieved. It is very good that...

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