Gov’t revokes passport of former HDP deputy

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Levent Tüzel

The Turkish government has revoked the passport of Levent Tüzel, a former pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy and Central Executive Board member of the leftist Labor Party (EMEP).

“Police at the airport told me that my passport had been cancelled when I was leaving Turkey for a meeting in Athens. I condemn this unlawfulness and  arbitrariness,” Tüzel said in a message posted Thursday on Twitter.

Tüzel rejected an invitation to participate in an interim election government set up by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu in 2015.

The Turkish government has been attempting to confiscate over 50,000 passports including those held by relatives of journalists living in exile.

Recently Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter’s passport was seized by Romanian police at Henri Coanda Airport upon a request from the Turkish government.

On Sept. 5, the government banned Dilek Dündar, wife of former Editor-in-Chief of the Cumhuriyet daily Can Dündar, from travelling abroad after seizing her passport at an İstanbul airport.

Similarly on Oct. 5 the government banned journalists Ayşe Yıldırım and Celal Başlangıç from travelling abroad after seizing their passports, also at an airport in İstanbul.

The seizure of passports started overseas in early 2016. In June of that year the passport of Nevin İpek, Koza İpek Holding CEO Akın İpek’s wife, was cancelled after it was allegedly reported lost by someone other than herself.

On Sept. 28 the passport of former Today’s Zaman reporter Arslan Ayan was confiscated by officials at the Turkish Consulate General in New York on the grounds that a warrant for his detention was outstanding back in Turkey.

Last year, Belgian police returned the passport of a Turkish citizen since the cancellation of passports by the Turkish government after a July 15 failed coup in Turkey was considered unlawful.

Similarly in April, Romanian police returned the passport of Soner Cesur, a Turkish businessman with investments in Romania, which they seized on March 25 upon a demand made by the Turkish government.

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