Belgian-Turkish law student barred from leaving Turkey due to criminal charges

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A 27-year-old Belgian-Turkish law student is being held in Turkey where she was reportedly arrested more than a month ago over a series of years-old Facebook posts about the Kurds, The Brussels Times reported.

Dual national Gülsüm Çetinkaya was arrested while travelling with her Kurdish parents in Turkey in July, and her relatives worry that she may be held there longer.

She was checked at the border with Bulgaria and immediately detained, her uncle, filmmaker Bülent Öztürk, told Het Nieuwsblad.

Originally from Antwerp, Çetinkaya, who is studying law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), was recently released from the Turkish prison where she was held, thousands of kilometers from her family’s village, Öztürk told the outlet. But she is still not allowed to leave the country.

“She was in prison for 40 days,” her uncle said, adding that Çetinkaya had told him the cell she was kept in was “tiny” and unsanitary.

Foreign affairs authorities in Belgium are reportedly looking into the situation, but the government cannot interfere if a dual national is held in their second country, according to media reports.

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