Imprisoned ailing man referred to ATK after health problems worsen in prison   

An ailing elderly man who was arrested in early August was referred to Turkey’s Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) on Monday after his health worsened in prison, the Tr724 website reported.

Mustafa Said Türk, 86, who is almost totally disabled, was hospitalized twice in two weeks and transferred back to prison on August 14. The ATK will examine Türk to determine if he is fit to remain in prison, with the elderly man’s family urging authorities to issue its report without delay. 

Türk suffers from severe health problems. He suffered a brain hemorrhage and became paralyzed and bedridden in 2018, and even his most basic needs were being taken care of by two professional caregivers at home before he was sent to prison.

His family earlier had told the media that Türk had two brain hemorrhages in the last five years, suffered a heart attack last year and had a stent implanted for his heart, in addition to receiving four insulin injections a day.

A few hours after he was sent to Manisa T Type Prison to serve his 10-year sentence on July 31, Türk was hospitalized due to poor health.

After his discharge on August 3, he was transported by ambulance, accompanied by gendarmes, to Menemen R Type Prison in İzmir, which is located an hour away from the hospital, to continue serving his sentence.

Türk was sent back to jail after a team of eight doctors provided a report a day earlier suggesting he was “fit to remain in prison.”

The doctors stated that Türk cannot sustain his life in prison conditions due to his ongoing illness and disability, but that there is no need to postpone the execution of his sentence. They added that due to his persistent health condition and disability, it is necessary for him to be kept in R Type correctional facilities.

Although R Type prisons in Turkey are designed to be facilities intended for ill inmates and the provision of care services, there are widespread claims that these services are not adequately provided.

Meanwhile, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a lawmaker from the Green Left Party (YSP) and a prominent human rights advocate, on Thursday expressed his disapproval of Türk’s transfer to prison in a video he released on X, formerly known as Twitter, claiming that the ministries of both health and justice are “sending him to his death.”

Türk was arrested following an attempted coup on July 15, 2016 and was incarcerated for 18 months in Manisa Type T Prison.

His 10-year sentence was recently upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals. Although his lawyer requested a stay of the sentence, citing old age and severe illness, it was denied by the Manisa 3rd High Criminal Court. His lawyers then appealed the decision at the Manisa 4th High Criminal Court, which upheld the lower court’s ruling.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following an abortive putsch that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

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