Sevan Nisanyan with his Armenian passport

Sevan Nisanyan Lauds Armenian Embassy for Getting Him out of Greek Jail


ATHENS (PanARMENIAN.Net, Agos) — Turkish-Armenian writer Sevan Nisanyan has hailed the efforts of the Armenian Embassy in Athens in having him released from a prison in Greece.

Nisanyan was jailed in Turkey in 2014 on charges of illegal construction, a case he claims was instead punishment for his outspoken views about restrictions on freedom of expression in the country. He escaped from a low-security prison in 2017 and pursued asylum in Greece. The 66-year-old linguist was detained on the island of Samos after Greek authorities refused to renew his residence permit. Before a court decision to release him on Friday, January 7, Nisanyan was facing deportation to Turkey.

“The Embassy of Armenia and especially ambassador Tigran Mkrtchyan made an incredible effort to save me, worked day and night, and did not leave me alone for a moment,” Nisanyan said in a Facebook post.

“For the first time in my life, I felt that a state was standing behind my back unconditionally and without hesitation. It’s a very different feeling. I didn’t know.”

Nisanyan was released on the condition of leaving the country within 15 days.

Nisanyan, who was released after being detained in Greece for 9 days, was also the guest of Alin Ozinan in the “Limitless” program broadcast on +GERÇEK TV.

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Nisanyan said, “There has been a very bad development in Samos [the island where he had been living] and all Aegean Islands in recent years. An incredible xenophobia and racism, which is very contrary to Greek tradition and Greek culture, has taken over the world like a storm. First of all, the police force is among the instigators of this business. It seems that as a result of a chain of paranoia and gossip, they entered a mood like ‘This man is Turkish, he came from Turkey, let him go back.’“

“I have been instructed to leave the country voluntarily. If we can get a result in this process, I will not go, but otherwise I will have the opportunity to rest in other countries for a while,” he said.

He said, “There is an organization behind it, obviously there is an organization. We have not yet understood what the attitude of Athens is. In other words, we met with many political, legal and administrative people in Athens, including very high-level officials. I came to this country four and a half years ago and then applied for asylum. It was a one-and-a-half year process. I finally withdrew my asylum, or rather, waited for the time to run out.

“I am no longer a refugee, I am not seeking asylum because the Armenian state gave me citizenship and a passport at that time,” he said. He added that his wife was a Greek citizen and at this point he cannot apply to live in Greece as a refugee.

“They were shocked to buy my Armenian passport. When he saw it. All the fiction they had built fell apart,” he told Ozinan.

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