Turkish-Armenian rights activist released on probation following brief detention

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Avazyan (R) was handcuffed during police detention after posting the photo, showing Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu as a child with his family.

Arlet Natali Avazyan, a Turkish human rights activist of Armenian origin who was detained in İstanbul on Tuesday due to a family photo of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu she posted on Twitter was released on judicial probation on Wednesday.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu announced Avazyan’s release on his Twitter account with a photo of the activist in handcuffs. She was also seen wearing a mask due to her cancer treatment.

“Dear Natali Avazyan has been released on condition that she check in at a police station in every 15 days. May this never happen again. We will always remember her spending the night in police custody and in handcuffs,” tweeted Tanrıkulu.

Social media users posted tweets in solidarity with Avazyan, saying, “Natali is not alone.”

Avazyan posted the photo of the Çavuşoğlu family from what she said was the year 1988 with a message saying that Çavuşoğlu’s father was known as the “thief, Kurdish Osman” at the time.

Avazyan’s detention came shortly after she announced on Monday that she had been summoned by the Turkish police for interrogation in a case filed against her for alleged terrorism links. Turkish media reports said she was detained based on a complaint from Çavuşoğlu.

“I was just called by the law enforcement agency. I was called to be interrogated due to my tweets. If I am not checked into a hospital by my doctor tomorrow, I will go to the police for the interrogation. Until 864 imprisoned babies are set free, I will continue my tweets,” Avazyan tweeted on Monday.

In the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 in Turkey, more than 17,000 women from all walks of life including teachers, doctors and housewives have been jailed in Turkey on coup charges in government-led operations. There are currently more than 800 children accompanying their mothers in Turkish jails.

Avazyan is known for her critical stance against the Turkish government and frequently tweets about the individuals who have been subjected to rights violations as well as the children in jail with their mothers.

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