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A protest demonstration has been staged for arrested Academic for Peace Tuna Altınel in Lyon, France. The colleagues and students of Assoc. Prof. Tuna Altınel from the Department of Mathematics at Lyon-1 University have sent messages of support and solidarity to the academic.
The students and colleagues of Tuna Altınel have also requested that Prof. Dr. Füsun Üstel, another Academic for Peace who has been behind bars since May 8, 2019, be released from prison as soon as possible.
A committee has been formed for Altınel
Research assistant Thomas Blossier from the Lyon-1 University has stated that they have formed a committee of support for the release of Tuna Altınel. He has also indicated that they are in contact with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research of France and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Committee of Support for Tuna Altınel has also released a statement on the official website of the university. In the statement entitled “Liberté pour Tuna Altınel” (Freedom for Tuna Altınel), it has been indicated that Altınel is an internationally recognized mathematician and a human rights defender.
Meeting at the school of Altınel
At the University of Lyon-1, where Altınel is a lecturer at the Department of Mathematics, students, academics and unions had a meeting on May 15.
Christine Charreton, a colleague of Altınel said, “We have to present our solidarity with a person who has been struggling for freedom of expression, a university value, to as many people as possible.”
On the same day, the Council of National Higher Education and Research of France (CNESER) also unanimously approved a proposal regarding the issue. Accordingly, the Council has requested that the Ministers of European Union, Higher Education and Foreign Affairs in France do what is necessary to ensure that Turkey respects the academics’ freedom of expression.
Minister of Higher Education: I am deeply concerned
Making a speech regarding the issue on May 16, Minister of Higher Education of France Frédérique Vidal indicated that she is deeply concerned about his colleague and underlined that Altınel should return to France as soon as possible and get back to his job.
Vidal has also underlined that France will always be a country where academic freedoms prevail.
European Mathematical Society: Human rights violation
The European Mathematical Society also made a statement regarding the arrest of Tuna Altınel on May 14 and emphasized that the arrest of the academic is a violation of human rights.
The Society also demanded that Altınel be immediately released from prison and be permitted to leave Turkey for France so that he could continue with his research and academic activities.
Foreign Ministry of France made a call to Turkey
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France also released a statement on Assoc. Prof. Tuna Altınel on May 14 and stated that they are “concerned” about the arrest of the academic in Turkey.
In its statement, the Ministry made a call to Turkey “to respect the commitments it made for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Assoc. Prof. Tuna Altınel from the Department of Mathematics at Lyon-1 University was arrested in Turkey’s western province of Balıkesir on May 11, 2019 on the ground of a conference held in France.
Altınel was taken into custody on May 10, when he he went to the Balıkesir Civil Registry to inquire about the restriction imposed on his passport. Being referred to court on duty by the Prosecutor’s Office to be arrested, the academic was arrested and sent to Kepsut Type L Prison.
It has been reported that Altınel has been facing the charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” as part of the investigation on the ground that he attended a panel discussion in Lyon. In the panel in question, Altıel interpreted the speech of Peoples’s Democratic Party (HDP) former MP Faysal Yıldız from Turkish into French.
Altınel is also an Academic for Peace signatory to the declaration entitled “We will not be a party to this crime“. Charged with “propagandizinf for a terrorist organization” as part of this lawsuit as well, Altınel’s trial has been continuing at the İstanbul 29th Heavy Penal Court. (TP/SD)
* Photographs: Euronews, France24, FranceTV, Le Progres