Cihan Erdal thanking delegates to CUPE’s 2021 National Convention for their solidarity and support by video from Istanbul.
One year after his release from prison in Turkey, CUPE is extremely concerned that CUPE 4600 member Cihan Erdal still can’t return home to his work and loved ones in Canada. The Canadian government must step up and help end his wrongful detention now.
  • Add your voice: send a message now to Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other Canadian and Turkish officials.

Erdal is a queer youth activist and Carleton University PhD student who has been unjustly detained on trumped-up charges in Turkey since September 2020, when he was swept up in a mass arrest of politicians, activists, and academics in Istanbul.

He was jailed for nine months, including time in solitary confinement, before being conditionally released on June 15, 2021. However, harsh bail conditions limit his freedom, and he cannot leave Turkey.

Erdal is a Canadian permanent resident and has applied to become a Canadian citizen. Citizenship opens the door to Erdal getting support from the Canadian consulate in the fight to end his ordeal. CUPE supported Erdal’s citizenship application and is demanding an end to the delays and immediate action from the Canadian government. Our union also supports the call to lift Erdal’s bail conditions so he can return to his studies in Canada.

An annual review of the human rights situation in Turkey for 2SLGBTQ+ people highlights the urgency of bringing Erdal safely home to Canada as soon as possible. Turkey was recently ranked 48 out of 49 European countries, according to analysis by ILGA-Europe, the European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

Erdal has tried to keep working and studying despite the severe restrictions of his arbitrary detention. While he was in prison, he contributed to an essay collection about young people and activism. He has also presented his research at academic conferences.

Stay up to date on Erdal’s situation by following the campaign on Twitter.