Villeurbanne does not forget Tuna Altinel, Turkish national and lecturer at the University Claude-Bernard-Lyon-I, whose passport was confiscated without reason by Ankara and who, blocked in Turkey since 2019, finds himself deprived of movement and to work.

Monday, February 22, the municipal council of Villeurbanne (Rhône) made him an honorary citizen, as a sign of support but also to challenge the French government. “How can the high French and European authorities tolerate such a thing? “, protested Cédric van Styvendael, the mayor of the city, during the videoconference organized before the vote of the council.

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The fate of the mathematician, prevented from leaving Turkey while his students are waiting for him at Lyon-I, the university where he has been teaching for twenty-five years, moves. Mobilized, the university community follows the case closely. “All the citizens of Villeurbanne are alongside Tuna Altinel”, proclaims the city councilor, while recognizing that this honorary citizenship may not change much to the situation of the teacher who has become hostage to the Turkish authorities.

Steps that don’t work

Present in Villeurbanne for the occasion, the deputy of Essonne Cédric Villani deplores “The absurd purgatory” that we impose on his former colleague at the University of Lyon-I, when he should be teaching and continuing his research. “What a tragic irony! A mathematician like Tuna, busy working on logic, finds himself faced with the most complete absurdity. “

“There are no restrictions concerning me, the court has specified. But I still can’t get my passport back ”Tuna Altinel, French academic stranded in Turkey

Tuna Altinel’s descent into the absurd began on April 12, 2019. As soon as she arrived at Istanbul’s Sabiha-Gökçen airport, her passport was confiscated by the police. A few days later, while trying to recover it, he finds himself placed in preventive detention. He spent eighty-one days in Balikesir prison. Accused of belonging to a terrorist organization, then of justifying terrorism, he was finally acquitted by a city court on January 24, 2020. The public prosecutor appealed, but the acquittal was confirmed eight months later, in September 2020.

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Collecting his passport should have been a simple formality. But the proceedings do not work, nor the appeal filed by his lawyer before an administrative court. “I have been acquitted and there are no restrictions concerning me, the court has specified. But I still can’t get my passport back ”, says the mathematician, who keeps morale but no longer dares to believe in it.

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