Zeynel Özen, a lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a member of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) who holds both Swedish and Turkish citizenship, was prevented from leaving Turkey due to a travel ban imposed by the Interior Ministry despite a ruling by the country’s top court, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.
According to Özer’s social media posts, he learned of the travel ban when he was at İstanbul Airport on Sunday to travel to Sweden to visit his family.
In July 2021 Turkey’s Constitutional Court canceled the ministry’s authority to revoke passports and impose travel bans, both of which have been widely used since a coup attempt in July 2016 as part of a crackdown. Despite the top court’s ruling, the ministry continues to impose such travel bans.
1- Bugün İstanbul Havalimanından vatandaşı olduğum 35 yıldır yaşadığım İsveç'e aile ziyareti için gitmek üzereyken havalimanında İçişleri Bakanlığının talimatıyla şahsıma yurt dışına çıkış yasağı getirildiği açıklandı. pic.twitter.com/sF5vaSSP9f
— Zeynel Özen (@zeynelozenhdp) December 25, 2022
Özen tweeted that imposing a travel ban on a deputy who is actively involved in the legislative process in parliament without notice or a court order is incompatible with the rule of law. “This ban should be lifted immediately,” Özen said.
Özen, who is also a member of the Turkish parliament’s committee on European Union harmonization, said the travel ban cannot be logically explained to him as a parliamentarian who has projects that he carries out abroad.