Yektan Turkyilmaz, a Turkish scholar who was arrested in Armenia two months ago, walked free from a court in Yerevan on Tuesday after being given a two-year suspended prison sentence for attempting to illegally take old Armenian books out of the country.
The court in the city’s Malatia-Sebastia district convicted Turkyilmaz of two counts of smuggling but chose not to imprison him at the last-minute request of state prosecutors that cited his partial acknowledgement of his guilt and cooperation with investigators. The doctoral student of the U.S. Duke University will have to stay in Armenia until the verdict’s formal entry into force on August 31. He will then be free to leave the country and visit it again.
“I’m now free, right?” an incredulous Turkyilmaz asked journalists that surrounded him immediately after the announcement of the ruling. “I am happy to be free,” he said after hearing a positive answer. “I now want to concentrate on my doctoral dissertation. I was, I am and I will remain a friend of the Armenians.”
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