A 5-year-old boy from Istanbul who, along with his mother, fled the Turkish government’s post-coup witch-hunt to Greece has been diagnosed with leukaemia in Athens.
“Nail Koçal, a 5-year-old Turkish refugee in Greece, was diagnosed with leukaemia on Thursday. His blood values are so low that he immediately started chemotherapy treatment. They need your prayers and support from Germany,” journalist Cevheri Guven tweeted on Saturday.
Guven added in a series of tweets that Nail’s father Şaban Birgül had earlier claimed asylum in Germany, awaiting family reunification.
Kocal family is accused of having ties to the Gulen movement in Turkey. Mr Kocal escaped to Germany in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 failed coup while his wife Birgül and two children had to stay in Turkey for some time.
In Istanbul, Birgül had spent some time in pre-trial detention along with Nail, 4 years old back then, before they ultimately fled to Greece.
“Nail got the know the prison conditions when he was only 4. He was not even allowed to play with his toys. What he and his mother get through is like a part from a novel. They went to Greece to seek asylum following their release after a long period of arrest,” Guven said.
“Immediately after their request for a family reunification was approved and they received the required documents, while Birgül Kocal and her two children were preparing to leave [Greece] for Germany, purple spots started to appear on Nail’s body. The initial [leukaemia] diagnosis was put by Turkish doctor, also a refugee, in Greece.”
Now that Nail was taken to a hospital in Athens for an extensive treatment, Kocal family is seeking to reunite in Greece.
“Nail’s immune system will suffer during the chemotherapy treatment and he will lose his hair. He needs to see his father who has been away for months now. Those who have a power to lobby in Germany may help to expedite his father’s passport process,” Guven maintained.
Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against true or alleged followers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15.
More than 150,000 people have been detained and some 80,000 including academics, judges, doctors, teachers, lawyers, students, policemen and many from different backgrounds have been put in pre-trial detention since last summer.
Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government cancelled their passports like thousands of others.
On Feb 13, at least three people died and five others were missing after a boat carrying a group of eight capsized in the Evros River while seeking to escape a post-coup crackdown in Turkey.