Jul 05 2018

Kurdish activist deported by Norway detained in Istanbul

Gülizar Taşdemir, a Kurdish activist who travelled to Norway seeking asylum in 2015, has been detained in Istanbul by anti-terror police after being deported on Thursday.

The Kurdish activist had reportedly been staying in a camp in Germany, where she had also applied for asylum, but was sent back to Norway after her application was rejected.

Taşdemir was returned to Turkey from Norway shortly afterwards when her asylum request there was rejected, and taken into custody at Istanbul Atatürk Airport on her arrival.

According to a report by Demirören News Agency, Taşdemir joined the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in 1991, and had been at one of the group’s camps in Iraq in 2015 when she was forced to flee to Norway under threat from the extremist jihadist Islamic State (ISIS).

The PKK is outlawed in Turkey, where it has struggled for Kurdish autonomy since launching a separatist insurgency in 1984.

Pro-government Islamist newspaper Yeni Akit alleges that Taşdemir is the “right hand” of senior PKK leader Duran Kalkan.

The European Kurdish Democratic Societies Congress (KCDK-E) condemned the return of Taşdemir to Turkey, saying the Norwegian state had ignored international law for asylum seekers and put her life in danger by doing so.

Turkey's largest pro-Kurdish political party, the Peoples' Democratic Party, launched a social media campaign, #NorwayExtraiditeKurdishActivistWoman, to protest the incident.