An Armenian-Turkish activist, known for publicizing a travel ban on a woman whose cancer-stricken nine-year-old son was sent abroad for treatment, was detained for several hours over alleged insults that she posted on social media.
Arlet Natali Avazyan, an Armenian-origin Turkish human rights activist, was detained in Turkey’s southern province of Adana where she was visiting her mother.
The activist announced her detention on her Twitter account late on Tuesday, saying police had raided her brother’s apartment in Istanbul in search of her earlier in the morning.
Avazyan said in video footage before her detention that she was waiting at her mother’s home for the police to take her in for questioning, referring to an insult-related accusation about herself without providing any further details.
“Our state has seen every Tweet that I posted as an insult. I hope to come together again [with my beloved ones] in healthy and good days,” the activist said in the video.
Avazyan, who had been expected to spend the night in police custody, also thanked those who expressed their support after the revelation of her detention.
Later she tweeted in the early hours of Wednesday morning that she was released after her statement was taken shortly after midnight.
Ani bir kararla gece saat 1' de ifadem alındı ve serbest bırakıldım..
— Arlet Natali AVAZYAN (@NataliAVAZYAN) February 12, 2020
Aidbrom International, a human rights organization founded by Avazyan, tweeted video footage showing the activist’s mother who said her daughter was suffering from renal failure and called on the authorities to release her.
Aysel AVAZYAN (82) tüm yetkililere sesleniyor. Zatürre kızım @NataliAVAZYAN bir ay önce ziyarete gelmişti. İstanbul’a dönmesine seyahat etmesine doktoru izin vermemişti. Şimdi yanına refakatçi almasına bile müsade etmediler. @adalet_bakanlik @kilicdarogluk @iyiparti @TC_icisleri pic.twitter.com/6nnUvAUeOv
— Aidbrom International (@aidbrom) February 11, 2020
Her detention has raised reaction on social media, with the hashtag, #NataliAvazyanYanlızDeğildir (Natali is not alone), having been initiated to motivate the public to support the activist.
Known as an outspoken critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the activist was also detained in October when she posted an old family photo of Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, saying that the minister’s father was known as “thief Kurdish Osman.”
Avazyan had recently initiated an awareness campaign for nine-year-old cancer patient Burhan Atac, whose father is behind bars over alleged links to the Gulen movement, a terror-recognized organization by the Erdogan regime following the failed July 15 coup.
Thanks to funds raised by Avazyan, the boy had the chance to receive treatment in Germany, but without his mother who is subjected to a travel ban due to an ongoing trial for the same reason as his father.
Despite the reactions and attempts to abolish the travel ban on the mother, no help came from the Turkish authorities in that regard.
Suffering from bone cancer, the sick boy had to return to Turkey a few days ago as he missed his mother and stopped eating in protest at his mother’s absence.
Before his return, Avazyan had visited the boy in hospital and posted a video of him crying that read, “My poor boy is in agony. He needs his mom more than ever.”