Author arrested at airport on his return to Turkey
Young author Gokhan Yavuzel was arrested on his return to Turkey on Sunday, Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) announced.
Yavuzel, a PEN International member and a political refugee who has been living in UK since 2019, said on Twitter about an hour before MLSA's announcement:
"I had to return to Turkey because of health reasons after having lived in exile for five years. Right now, I am being taken into custody at Istanbul Airport."
Yavuzel had been injured in an attack by a group of assailants in Wales in July 2021, a short time after his name appeared in an "execution list." The authenticity of the list - publicized on social media - was confirmed by German officials. It contained names of 55 people from Turkey, most of them journalists living in exile in Europe, and all critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Yavuzel had to leave Turkey after he faced a lawsuit in 2019 because of a public statement he allegedly co-authored in 2016. The joint statement, released by the "Writers Initiative for Peace" and signed by 164 writers, expressed support for an earlier public call by over 1,400 academicians who criticized curfews and military operations in Turkey's Kurdish-majority provinces and urged Turkish authorities to end severe rights violations.
Yavuzel is accused of "terrorist propaganda" in the case.
A criminal investigation was later launched in June 2020 for allegedly insulting the Turkish President in a video he posted, after having received a death threat from a Twitter user.
Yavuzel is the author of several books including "Katiller Hep Yalnizdir," "Sahipsiz Siirler," and "Surgun Notlari."