Mother of cancer patient finally allowed fly with her son to Germany for treatment

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Haluk Levent (L) with Zekiye Ataç and her son.

Zekiye Ataç, the mother of an 8-year-old cancer patient, has finally been allowed to accompany her son for treatment abroad, following an exhaustive, months-long struggle aided by human rights activists and public figures to overturn a travel ban imposed on her due to an investigation over Gülen links.

Haluk Levent, a Turkish rock star and human rights activist who founded the Ahbap network to help those in need across the country, announced on Tuesday that mother and son got on a plane bound for Germany.

Turkey accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt, although it strongly denies any involvement.

Following the failed coup the government imposed travel restrictions on thousands of citizens in a large-scale crackdown targeting followers of the movement.

Suffering from bone cancer, Ahmet Burhan Ataç briefly visited Germany without his mother in January, only to return to Turkey a few days later since he missed her.

The mother’s ban was first revoked by a prosecutor’s office in February after an intense social media campaign. The next day, it was overturned by a court. The ban was finally lifted on Feb  21.

However, she was unable to get through immigration at İstanbul Airport on Monday due to another administrative travel restriction.

“It is a crime. Ahmet’s mother was misinformed. She is not allowed to leave the country due to a caveat [placed on the system] by an administrative court during the [2016-2018] state of emergency [declared after the failed coup in Turkey],” Natali Avazyan, a Turkish-Armenian human rights activist, tweeted on Monday.

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