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Turkish academic from French university arrested for terrorist propaganda

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Ahmet Tuna Altınel, a mathematician from France’s Lyon University, was arrested by a Turkish court in Balıkesir province on Saturday on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda, the Bianet news website reported.

Altınel was accused of disseminating the propaganda of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in a speech at a conference in France.

He was among more than a thousand Turkish academics who in 2016 signed a petition calling on the Turkish government to halt a military offensive in predominantly Kurdish cities in the Southeast, stressing that the operations had been causing civilian deaths and the destruction of residential areas.

Altınel is currently standing trial on the same charges for signing the petition.

His lawyer told the Evrensel daily that Altınel had been visiting Turkey frequently to attend trial proceedings but that this time he was unable to return to France because of a restriction on his passport.

He was detained on Friday when he went to a police station in Balıkesir for information about the restriction.

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