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(AP/Scanpix)

Leyla Zana refused travel to Norway

The Kurdish human rights activist Leyla Zana is invited to Norway, but Turkey refuses her to leave the country.

The Norwegian parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee and the Thorolf Rafto Foundation for Human Rights have invited Zana to Norway, but Turkey refuses her to leave the country.

«Of course, this will be noticed,» said Thorbjørn Jagland, head of the foreign affairs committee, to the Norwegian television channel NRK.

Jagland claims the case may have large political consequences for Turkey, especially in connection with Turkey’s ambition to become a member of the European Union.

«I think this may get consequences in the form of the EU laying down the law saying that if Turkey does not change its politics, it can forget negotiations regarding membership,» Jagland said.

Zana and three other former Kurdish MPs, Hatip Dicle, Selim Sadak, and Orhan Dogan, were sentenced to 15 years in jail by the Turkish security court in 1994 on charges of having links with a Kurdish separatist organisation. After serving several years in jail, they were released June 9, and the sentences were overturned July 14. The four of them now face a retrial, but the date has not yet been announced.

Zana was awarded the Norwegian Rafto Prize for Human Rights ten years ago, and she was invited to visit Norway two weeks from now, however, she may not be able to come unless Turkey changes its decision.

Zana, who was the first Kurdish woman elected to the Turkish parliament, became internationally known for her work for Kurds’ rights. She received the EU parliament’s Sakharov prize for her work, and she has been nominated to the Nobel Prize.

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