The co-chairs of the Turkish Green Party Eylem Tuncaelli and Naci Sönmez are still effectively banned from leaving Turkey following the authorities’ refusal to return their passports.

They had been due to stand trial today, 16 January, in Ankara over charges connected to the co-signing of a press statement criticising Turkey’s military action in Syria but it has now been postponed until 2 July, 2019. The official charges are for promoting terrorist propaganda.

A travel ban had initially been put in place but was subsequently lifted.  However, the authorities refuse to return their passports making it impossible for them to travel.

Responding to the outcome, the European Green Party co-chair Monica Frassoni said:

“It is entirely unacceptable that the Turkish co-chairs have been effectively barred from travelling without any official explanation from the authorities’ as to why they will not return their passports.  It must be reiterated that Eylem Tuncaelli and Naci Sönmez have only ever promoted peace and the charges against them do not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

“This is the second time that the verdict has been postponed.  Both Naci and Eylem have done nothing wrong and are desperate to see the charges dropped and focus on doing their jobs helping local communities. This postponement only prolongs the uncertainty over their future. The authorities must return their passports without delay,” the European Green Party Committee Member Evelyne Huytebroeck added.