Greek authorities have released Sevan Nişanyan from custody and notified him that he must leave the country within 15 days, the Istanbulite Armenian linguist’s wife Ira Tzourou announced.
Nişanyan, author of a Turkish etymological dictionary, may leave for Armenia if he wishes, as he holds Armenian citizenship, Tzourou cited the Armenian embassy as saying.
The linguist was detained eight days ago, a day after his residence permit expired, according to his wife. Nişanyan had obtained legal residency in Greece on the grounds of his marriage to Tzourou, a Greek citizen, but his permit was not renewed.
The couple married on the Greek island of Samos in 2019, two years after Nişanyan’s escape from a Turkish prison. He had also sought political asylum, but his application had not been finalised.
Nişanyan was arrested in Turkey in 2014 over a dispute with the Turkish authorities about a permit for stone houses he had built in the village of Şirince, a former Greek settlement in Izmir province, that he had spent decades helping to revive. A court case relating to this was initiated shortly after the writer had been faced with public outrage and another court case, for insulting the prophet Mohammad.
In October 2021, while on a trip to Albania, Nişanyan was banned from re-entering Greece. The Greek authorities did not make public the reason for the ban, saying it was a state secret.
Nişanyan had spent time in Armenia and after two months, he announced his return to Samos in a livestream.