Opposition deputy takes deportation of Iranian asylum seekers to parliament

Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit, a deputy from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has submitted a parliamentary question about Turkish authorities’ decision to deport four Iranian asylum seekers for participating in a demonstration against Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the Evrensel daily reported.

Addressing Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, Koçyiğit demanded to know the legal basis behind the deportation decision. She said the right to demonstrate is secured by Article 34 of the Turkish Constitution.

The four Iranian asylum seekers, Esmaeil Fattahi, Leili Faraji, Zeinab Sahafi and Mohammad Pourakbari Kermani, were detained in western Denizli province more than a week after they participated in the demonstration, which took place on March 20.

They were taken to a repatriation center in neighboring Aydin, where they are currently being held.

The detention of the Iranian asylum seekers had caused concern as they were already worried that the close diplomatic ties between Turkey and Iran could cause Turkey to deport them. Although Turkey has an international obligation of non-refoulement to a country where a person faces the death penalty and/or torture, several Iranian activists and journalist have been previously deported to Iran.

The Women’s Committee of Human Rights Associations (IHD) criticized Turkish authorities for wanting to deport the asylum seekers.

“The Istanbul Convention keeps women alive. We will not give up on our rights,” said the IHD on Twitter. “This treaty provides legal protections not only for Turkish citizens but for refugees as well.”

Gülizar Biçer Karaca from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) said the deportation of the asylum seekers was against human rights.

The Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence, widely known as the Istanbul Convention, was signed by 45 countries and the European Union in 2011 and requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.

Turkey was the first member state to ratify the CoE convention, which was opened for signature in Istanbul during Turkey’s chairmanship of the organization 10 years ago.

In a move that attracted widespread criticism from several countries, international organizations and rights groups, Turkey withdrew from the Istanbul Convention, through a presidential decree issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on March 20.

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