“My father has been diagnosed with liver cancer and needs immediate treatment. He is now being kept at the detention ward of İzmir Training and Research Hospital. Neither my mother nor anyone else is allowed to keep him company. All I want is to see him free and healthy,” Sinan Özcerit, son of a purge-victim associate professor, told TR724 news portal on Friday.
Sinan’s father, Ahmet Turan Özcerit was an associate professor at Sakarya University’s Faculty of Computer and Information Science until he was dismissed with a post-coup emergency decree, numbered 672, on Sept 1, 2016, has recently been diagnosed with cancer in his liver and intestines.
“After he was arrested, my father first put in a prison in Sakarya and the transferred to Bandırma prison. During this time the pain in his stomach got worse and he sent a petition to the prison management, asking to see a doctor. He was told that some 200 arrestees were waiting to see the doctor and therefore he had to wait. In several weeks, he got so much worse and lost around 15 kilograms. He eventually lost his consciousness. When they finally saw that he was in a critical situation, the prison management brought him to Bandırma hospital and then transferred him to İzmir,” the son told the news portal.
The academic is in the 13th month of his arrest over his alleged links to the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
“He has a tumor in his liver. He can’t eat. He loses weight. He also has ulcer and gallbladder stone. We got a medical report and demanded his release from the Sakarya 5th High Criminal Court. The judge looked at the report and asked for a committee report. We went back to the doctor and asked for that committee report and he told us he could give it only after the surgery. When we ask when would the surgery happen, we were not given any specific date. Both the doctor and the judge are scared. At the prison, we were allowed to see our father every two week. However, here at the hospital, we are not allowed to see him at all,” Sinan said.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen group and initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the group from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Hundreds of human tragedies in Turkey have been reported to date. According to recent data released by the Ministry of Justice, more than 6,000 women are held in penal institutions, constituting around 9 percent of the total prison population in Turkey.
A total of 2,258 of them are mothers, of whom 520 are obliged to raise their 0 to 6-year-old children in prison.
A witch-hunt started by the Turkish government in the aftermath of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 against people affiliated with the Gülen group has done nothing but cause more tragedies for mothers with children.