His trial for "terrorism" had caused outrage in academic circles. A Turkish court acquitted Friday, January 24, Tuna Altinel, a Turkish mathematician teaching in France, his sister, Evren Altinel, told AFP.

Arrested in May 2019 when he went to Turkey during his holidays, this lecturer at Claude-Bernard Lyon 1 University was first accused of "belonging to a terrorist organization", then of "propaganda", after the first count was dropped.

The authorities accused him of his participation, in February 2019, in the meeting of a French Kurdish friend talking about the death of civilians during the fighting between security forces and rebels of the Workers' Party (PKK) in south-eastern Turkey in 2015.

Over 80 days in prison

Locked up after his arrest, Tuna Altinel was released in July after 81 days of detention, but his passport was confiscated, a measure which should be lifted after his acquittal.

His lawyer Meriç Eyüboglu pleaded Friday for the acquittal of Tuna Altinel, estimating that there was "no element incriminating" his customer and that the facts which were reproached to him "fell under the freedom of expression". Tuna Altinel was also prosecuted in another case for signing a petition calling for an end to operations in south-eastern Turkey, but was acquitted in September.

A graduate of the Galatasaray French lycée in Istanbul, he has lived in Lyon since 1996.

The academic community is under strong pressure in Turkey, especially since the coup attempt of July 15, 2016 which was followed by massive purges which hit the faculties with full force.


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