On May 11, 2019, Tuna Altınel, associate professor at the Lyon 1 University, was arrested in Balikesir, Turkey, due to his participation as a simultaneous interpreter at a conference held in France in February on the “Cizre basements,” where 189 people died in a military operation in 2015. Altinel is also on trial for having signed the peace declaration.
Following last week’s Constitutional Court ruling with regard to the ongoing trials of academics, Altinel appeared before the judge at the Balıkesir 2nd Heavy Penal Court on July 30, the 81st day of his arrest. The prosecutor requested Atlinel’s release upon judicial control and that the case file should be sent to the Supreme Court of Appeals for approbation.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide welcomes this news with great relief. For the past three years, ESW has been monitoring the struggle of academics in Turkey case by case, making inquiries on a daily basis. The ongoing tensions in Turkey have a profoundly unsettling effect on academic freedom and pose a grave threat to higher education on an international scale. We at ESW consider this court decision a significant development and look forward to sharing the news of the full acquittal and reinstatement of those who were dismissed from their positions due to their peaceful exercise of the freedoms of expression and association, conduct that is expressly protected under international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both to which Turkey is party.