‘My father left to die of liver cancer under arrest,’ says son of Turkey’s purge-victim academic

“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 Özcerit

Sinan Özcerit’s father, Ahmet Turan Özcerit was an academic 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 then 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.

“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 Özcerit said.

Ass. Professor Ahmet Turan Özcerit

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch AKP government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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