September 10, 2020
Turkish authorities released Iranian activist Maryam Shariatmadari, who was detained in western Turkey on Sept. 7 on the grounds that her visa had expired.
Shariatmadari faced the threat of deportation back to Iran, which would be risky considering the conditions she left under.
A vocal critic of Iran’s hijab mandate, Shariatmadari was sentenced to prison with a group of women in 2017.
Turkish authorities were forced to free the activist after the Denizli Bar Association intervened during her detention, noting that she would have a month-long grace period to leave the country in the case of a visa expiration.
Turkish authorities were also pressured by the far-reaching social media campaign that denounced Shariatmadari’s arrest. Women rights groups in Turkey and abroad called for the Iranian activist’s immediate release.
Shariatmadari was one of several Iranian women who protested against compulsory hijab in Iran by removing and waving her headscarf in Enghelab (Revolution) Street in the capital Tehran. These women came to be known as the “girls of revolution street.”
The Iranian judiciary sentenced Shariatmadari to one year in prison for “encouraging corruption by removing the hijab.”
Shariatmadari managed to flee to Turkey after being detained for a few days in Iran.
In other news, Turkey and Iran agreed to take joint actions against the activities of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its affiliation in Iran, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK), along their common borders.
“Both sides emphasized that it is incumbent upon both countries to fully utilize the existing cooperation mechanisms against the activities of PKK/PJAK elements and the other terrorist organizations along the common borders and to take coordinated steps for result-oriented cooperation, including joint operations, in countering terrorism and organized crime,” said a joint declaration issued following the 6th Turkey-Iran High-Level Cooperation Council meeting.
The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for over 30 years.
The teleconference meeting was co-chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.
Ankara and Tehran also reiterated commitment to developing new economic cooperation areas to reverse contraction in bilateral trade volume, which arose from adverse global conditions, including the negative impacts of the COVID-19 disease, by fully utilizing available mechanisms, according to the statement.