ISTANBUL (Rudaw ) — A Turkish-Armenian intellectual out on a temporary pass from prison did not return at the appointed time, instead taking to social media to announce he had escaped.
“The bird has flown,” Sevan Nisanyan tweeted on Friday, July 14, changing his profile picture to an image of a bird. “The same wishes for the remaining 80 million.”
Nisanyan, 61, is a linguist and writer. He taught linguistic history at Istanbul’s Bilgi University. In his writings, “his targets have included Ataturk and Islam, two ‘untouchables’ of Turkish public discourse,” it states on his website.
He was jailed in January 2014 on nine charges related to illegal construction of a house in a heritage site in the town of Sirince, Izmir. He was sentenced to 11 years and six months, according to Hurriyet Daily News.
On his website, Nisanyan claimed he was jailed after using “mocking language” about the Prophet Mohammed in a September 2012 blog post.
“For anyone familiar with the workings of the Turkish legal system, it is obvious that the construction charges are a smokescreen, and that Nisanyan is being punished for his political and religious impertinence, made all the more serious by the fact that he is an ethnic Armenian,” his website states.