Ismet Ozelik, formerly a member of the Board of Directors of Mevlana University in Selcuklu, was in Malaysia and, at Turkey’s request, was deported back to Turkey on suspicions of his involvement with the Gulen movement. CCS wrote to the Turkish authorities requesting clarification of Dr. Ozelik’s status and, requesting that if charged he receive a fair trial that meets international standards. If he is not charged with a legitimate criminal offense, CCS has requested his immediate release.
July 20, 2017
Mr Süleyman Soylu
Minister of the Interior
Fax: +90 312 418 1795
Dear Minister Soylu:
The Committee of Concerned Scientists is an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world.
We write to express our concern for the safety of İsmet Özçelik, a Turkish scholar who was deported to Turkey from Malaysia on May 11, apparently due to suspicions of involvement with the Gülen movement. We are concerned that he has become another of the tens of thousands of scholars, civil servants, and others who are detained under this broad allegation, and are worried that he may be subjected to unfair trial proceedings.
Mr. Özçelik was a member of the Board of Directors of Mevlana University in Selçuklu, Konya district, Turkey. That university was shuttered by your government in July 2016 due to alleged connections to the Gülen movement, and Mr. Özçelik’s passport was subsequently cancelled while he was traveling in Malaysia while visiting his son. He was first arrested by Malaysian authorities, at the request of your government in December 2016, but he was later released and received a valid Refugee Card from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Despite this protection, he was re-arrested by Malaysian authorities on May 4 of this year and deported a week later.
We write you to clarify the status of İsmet Özçelik. We urge you to guarantee Mr. Özçelik’s safety, and that he not be subjected to prolonged detention without trial. If he is to be charged with an internationally recognized criminal offense, we urge that you take all steps necessary to ensure that his trial meets international fair trial standards. If he is not charged with a legitimate criminal offense, he must be released immediately and unconditionally.
Thank you for your attention to this most serious matter, and we look forward to receiving your response.
Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich, Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
Ambassador Serdar Kiliç
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington DC 20008
Phone: 1 202 612 6700 or 1 202 612 6701
Fax: 1 202 612 6744