Ahmet Dizlek, an imprisoned Turkish man with stage 4 cancer, has been denied access to healthcare by the prison management for over eight months, according to pro-Kurdish HDP deputy, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu.

Submitting a parliamentary question to Turkish Justice Ministry last week, Gergerlioğlu said because of the prison management’s arbitrary decision to prevent Dizlek from treatment, the cancer has spread from where it started to other parts of his body, and thus is now unlikely to be cured.

According to Gergerlioğlu, Dizlek has been staying at a prison in Kandıra, a town of Kocaeli Province in the Marmara region of Turkey. He has been accused of having membership in the Gulen group, which the government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016.

The group denies any involvement.

At least 41 prisoners have died of cancer related complications in prisons across Turkey between July 2016 and January 2021, the Bold news portal reported.

9 others still remain incarcerated over a variety of trumped-up terror charges, including alleged membership in the Gulen group and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Among these are: Ali Kaya – Rize Kalkandere Prison; Ahmet Karakuş – Manisa T Type State Prison; Abdülaziz Örpek and Ali Osman Ünal – Kırşehir Prison; Ahmet Polat – Kandıra Prison; Rıdvan Yıldız – Silivri Prison; Yasin Akaslan — Sincan Prison; E.K. – Antalya L Type State prison.

Since the beginning of the purge in Turkey in the aftermath of the failed July 15 coup attempt, at least half of million people have been investigated while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen group. According to the Turkish Interior Ministry, there are currently 25,655 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed over alleged terror, coup links.

The purge has resulted in a drastic increase of political prisoners in Turkish prisons, some of whom are severely ill.

According to the Human Rights Association (İHD), there are more than 1,605 sick prisoners in Turkish prisons, approximately 604 of whom are critically ill. Although most of the seriously ill patients have forensic and medical reports deeming them unfit to remain in prison, they are not released. Authorities refuse to release them on the grounds that they pose a potential danger to society. In the first eight months of 2020, five critically ill prisoners passed away because they were not released in time to receive proper medical treatment.

Since April 2020, four seriously ill prisoners over the age of 70 have died in penal institutions; five inmates suffering from cancer died shortly after they were released; and 16 died of chronic illnesses while imprisoned.