The Turkish government has literally been depriving thousands of dissidents of the right to lead a normal life by forcefully keeping them in Turkey.

Over 150,000 passports have been cancelled since a coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Prominent journalists, columnists, academics and high-ranking officials as well as thousands of regular citizens including shopkeepers, housewives and even children have been banned from leaving Turkey.

Thousands of civilians have tried to leave the country either after they were dismissed from their jobs by government decrees or when they faced imprisonment and persecution at the hands of the Turkish government, police and judiciary.

However, many of them were informed about the travel ban and cancellation of their passports at airports, hours before their flights were to take off.

Many opponents of the Turkish government have tried to flee the ongoing purge in the county. Some of them drowned after their boats capsized in the Aegean Sea, while others were caught and put in prison by Turkish authorities.

Because of their dissident stance, purge victims are deliberately not accepted into society, not granted a chance to start off with a clean slate and not able to continue their lives in the country.

They are forced to experience a slow and painful social genocide.

As editors, we are deeply concerned about all these developments that undermine even the most fundamental human rights. We believe the only way out of this nightmarish atmosphere is to return these people’s passports and let them leave the country for a new start.

We are publishing our concerns to inform the Turkish people and the rest of the world who still believe in democracy.

We are calling on the Turkish government to give a chance to all purge victims to leave the country and start a new life somewhere else in the world.