HOPA, Turkey—Political activists Nurcan Vayiç Aksu and Cemil Aksu—both of Armenian origin—were released from a Turkish prison on Friday, after having been incarcerated for several weeks.
Political activist Nurcan Vayiç Aksu was taken into police custody on Oct. 19 after a house raid. Her husband, journalist and environmental activist Cemil Aksu, was arrested a few days later in the city of Artvin for supposedly “praising crime and criminals” in his social media posts.
According to reports, Vayiç is a human rights activist and a member of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP). Aksu is the local co-chair of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and one of the editors of the Gor-Hemshin cultural magazine.
The couple is from the town of Hopa, in Artvin, commonly known as the Hemshin (Hamshen) region, about 12 miles from the Georgian border. As longtime political activists, the two have spoken out about the local history and Armenian identity of the Hemshin region, as well as on environmental matters and women’s rights issues. Both have been critical of the Turkish government, led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Upon being released, the couple posted photos on social media with their eight-year-old child Arev, who was being taken care of by his aunt while his parents were imprisoned.