Montreal, September 28, 2020 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) adds its voice to those calling for the release of Cihan Erdal, a queer youth activist and PhD student at Carleton University in Ottawa who was detained in Turkey along with 81 other pro-Kurdish activists, academics, and politicians.
Erdal is a permanent resident of Canada who was in Turkey visiting family and conducing doctoral research. He was arrested on Friday and is being held in a detention centre in Ankara. Along with the other 81 detainees, Erdal appears to have been targeted for detention as a signatory to a 2014 letter — written six years ago — which called on the Turkish government to help the Kurdish Syrian town of Kobani, which was under attack from ISIS. The government is accusing signatories of inciting protests in southeast Turkey, which were met by police violence which led to the deaths of 37 civilians. At the time, Erdal was an executive member of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), a pro-Kurdish political party whose members have been persecuted by the Turkish government.
CJPME condemns the detention of Cihan Erdal by Turkey as arbitrary and politically motivated. We call on the Canadian government to demand Erdal’s immediate release, and to guarantee his safe return to Canada.
For more information, see the following resources:
Statement by the Erdal’s university department: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University condemns in the strongest possible terms the detention of Carleton Sociology doctoral candidate, Cihan Erdal, in Turkey today.
Open letter by academics: Call to Free Cihan Erdal
Al Jazeera report: Turkey orders dozens of arrests including opposition mayor
About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.
For more information, please contact: Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME: 613-315-7947 or [email protected].
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org
The whole or parts of this press release can be reproduced without permission.