U.S. State Department to Issue Visa to Kurdish Human Rights Advocate
We know of no reason why Mr. Yildiz would be ineligible for a visa, and we are increasingly troubled by the possibility that the extraordinary delay in processing his visa may be related to his legitimate advocacy concerning the rights of Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, and elsewhere. We respectfully ask that you immediately grant Mr. Yildiz a visa or explain why he is being excluded from the United States.
PEN, the ACLU, and the AAUP were co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the exclusion of Muslim scholar Tariq Ramadan on ideological grounds and teamed up again to protest the denial of visas to Colombian journalist Hollman Morris and Afghan writer and political activist Malalai Joya last year. Hillary Clinton issued a waiver allowing Ramadan to visit the United States last year, and Morris and Joya both received visas following our inquiries. In all these cases, our public debates have been sharpened and enriched by granting the visas, and we are gratified that Kerim Yildiz, too, will soon be back in the United States. As we observed in our letter:
Permitting him to visit the United States would serve the public interest, particularly because his area of specialty—Kurdish rights—is one of obvious relevance to current public debates, including those about the United States’ relations with Iraq and Turkey.