ODU grad and NASA scientist released after 2 years in Turkish prison


Serkan Golge

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A NASA scientist who earned his Ph.D. at Old Dominion University has been released after two years of captivity inside a Turkish prison.

Serkan Golge was visiting relatives in Turkey back in 2016 when he was arrested on suspicion of being part of the failed coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said Robert Wojtowicz, the Dean of ODU’s Graduate School in a message to his colleagues on Thursday.

Golge, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Turkey who was working as a research scientist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, has repeatedly denied the allegations.

While he’s still not allowed to leave Turkey, and must regularly check in with authorities, a State Department spokeswoman says the U.S. is trying to get him home “as soon as possible.”

Wojtowicz says Golge’s dissertation adviser, Charles Hyde, is “delighted and relieved that Serkan has finally been released. He was always cheerful, eager to learn and ready to contribute to any project.” Hyde is the chairman of the Department of Physics at ODU.

Wojtowicz says ODU is continuing to monitor the situation, and says the school has a “productive relationship with students, faculty and exchange scholars from Turkey.”

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