IFJ- EFJ call for urgent medical care for jailed Turkish journalist Çetinkaya

Journalist Tuncer Çetinkaya.

The European and International Federations of Journalists (EFJ-IFJ) has called on Turkish authorities to provide urgent medical care to Turkish journalist Tuncer Çetinkaya who has been in pre-trial detention in Turkey for 11 months.

“Tuncer Çetinkaya, a journalist and former regional representative of Zaman newspaper in Antalya, has been detained for 11 months in Turkey and is now held in Antalya prison. He urgently needs medical care,” a statement released by the IFJ- EFJ said on Friday.

According to his relatives who contacted the IFJ-EFJ, Çetinkaya is seriously ill and suffers from autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) which requires regular and specific treatment.

His daughter reported that during his first three months in jail,  Çetinkaya was not allowed to use his drugs or see a doctor. His health situation has steadily worsened and he has already lost 54 percent of his kidney. He also lost a lot of weight, his daughter reported.

Çetinkaya’s lawyer has kept writing petitions to all relevant medical bodies about the fast deterioration of his client’s health asking for a committee of doctors to examine him and state that his situation was not fit for prison conditions. To date he has received no answer.
Çetinkaya was able to see a doctor only once since January 2017.

“The IFJ and EFJ are extremely concerned about the deteriorating health of Tuncer Çetinkaya and urge the prison authorities in Antalya to provide him the necessary care his heath requires, including being examined by a committee of doctors to assess his situation.”


R. G. Çetinkaya, the daughter of jailed Turkish journalist Tuncer Çetinkaya, has written a letter to Turkish Minute on Friday in which she explained the deteriorating health of her father, who suffers from a serious kidney problem as well as other ailments and called on Turkish authorities to provide him with immediate medical care.

Jailed journalist Tuncer Çetinkaya’s daughter R.G. hugs her father upon his release from an Antalya prison in March. The journalist was rearrested several days later.

“I am R. G. Çetinkaya, the daughter of journalist Tuncer Çetinkaya, who is jailed in the Antalya L-Type Prison, ward number F9.

My father was detained on July 23, 2016 in Aksaray by eight civil policemen. We did not hear from him and were not even told where he was for four days. After four days, we found out that he had been brought to the Antalya Sanayi Police Station. Then he was sent to court and has been under arrest for 11 months.

My father, Tuncer Çetinkaya, has polycystic kidney disease, the treatment of which is yet to be found. My father has lost all his family elders because of this disease. In addition to this, he is suffering from other diagnosed diseases such as hypertension, enlargement of the prostate, cervical herniated disc and a thyroid problem.

He needs to take a lot of medicine. After he was jailed, his medicines were not given to him for three-and-a-half months and he was not allowed to be treated by a doctor. The disease in his kidney got worse.

My father’s health is deteriorating because of his living conditions, his other diseases, the psychological trauma he is experiencing and the lack of nutritional standards in prison.

Even though my father has been writing a petition to prison management every week, he has not received any response. There are inadequacies in prison in terms of diet, which directly affect his blood pressure.

While his blood pressure needs to be measured regularly, he was permitted seven months later to receive a sphygmomanometer.

My father underwent a hernia operation on Jan. 17, 2016. They usually allow prisoners to stay with a companion, but they did not allow us to do that. We did not even see him. He later told us that he had been psychologically tortured, he had been just thrown away somewhere naked, he had experienced maltreatment from soldiers, he had not been given food and water, and that had been dragged back to prison in handcuffs.  

This is a heartbreaking incident for a human being. My father has been imprisoned for 11 months. The medical reports show that he is not able to use 54 percent of his kidneys and that a cyst in the kidney has grown three millimeters.

My father has to be treated by a doctor every two weeks. They don’t care about these things in the prison. We want my father to be released as soon as possible. Please let our voice be heard, I don’t want to lose my father. “

Çetinkaya is among the dozens of journalists who were jailed in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 as part of the government’s post-coup crackdown on critics.

He is the former local news representative in Antalya for the Zaman daily, which was closed down by the government after the July 15 coup attempt.

Çetinkaya was released under judicial supervision along with six other local reporters on March 30 but detained two days later and was subsequently re-arrested.

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 264 journalists are now in jails as of June 16, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 240 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 16, 2017

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