Turkish government bars 4 Swiss dual citizens from leaving country

Switzerland’s foreign ministry has announced that the Turkish government arrested one Swiss citizen and issued travel bans for three others, according to a report by pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF) on Monday.

According to the report, Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger recently said some persons who hold dual Turkish-Swiss citizenship are still under arrest in Turkey and that some are subject to a travel ban. The Swiss Foreign Ministry issued a statement confirming Tages Anzeiger’s report.

The statement from the Swiss Foreign Ministry said one person who has dual citizenship is in Turkish custody and that three others have been issued travel bans and are unable leave the country. The ministry said there had been eight persons in this situation in June, although four of them were able to return to Switzerland after talks.

The ministry said the Turkish government failed to provide information on why these persons were arrested or prevented from returning to Switzerland and underlined that their efforts are continuing to secure their release.

ANF reported that most of the cases against the Swiss citizens who have been arrested or issued travel bans in Turkey are based on their social media posts.

In July Turkish Ambassador to Switzerland, İlhan Saygılı, had announced the imminent lifting of the travel ban on Turkish-Swiss dual nationals and promised their release. At the time, eight individuals with Turkish and Swiss passports were prevented from travelling. However, Saygılı said the ban would only be lifted for those citizens who were not allowed to leave the country because of an administrative measure. Those who had the ban imposed because of a court decision would have to wait for a new ruling to be able to travel again.

The foreign affairs ministry told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper on Saturday that it had discussed the travel ban with Turkish officials at several levels of government and would continue to do so. The ministry did not comment on individual cases.

Several Swiss newspapers had published articles that the Turkish Embassy in Bern and Turkish consulates were used for espionage activities and pointed out that there were many individuals in Switzerland who were working directly for Turkey’s notorious National  Intelligence Organization (MİT). The MİT agents reportedly profile President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s opponents in Switzerland and relay the information to the Turkish government.

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