Prominent academic returned to prison after heart procedure

Columnist for the now-closed Zaman daily and academic Mümtaz’er Türköne was sent back to prison on Saturday after doctors inserted a stent to open a clogged artery at İstanbul’s Mehmet Akif Ersoy Hospital, to which he had been admitted for heart problems on June 25.

Authorities reportedly neither informed his family members of the procedure nor allowed any of them to stay with him at the hospital during his recovery. His daughter Sıla Türköne told the Turkish media that she received news of her father’s hospitalization via his lawyer after she became concerned that her father had not made his weekly call to the family.

Sıla (L) and Mümtaz’er Türköne

His daughter said the 63-year-old Türköne rejected a heart operation at the hospital, assuming that he would not be provided adequate care or a proper recovery time in prison after such a serious surgery. She added that his doctors believed an operation was necessary and could not be refused. 

“Every single day in prison is a risk to his health,” she said.

On July 6 Professor Türköne was seen in handcuffs in the corridor of the hospital where he was taken for treatment. The humiliating treatment of the journalist attracted widespread criticism on social media.

In July 2018 Türköne was handed down a prison sentence of 10 years, six months on terrorism charges in a trial in which other journalists from Zaman were also given jail sentences of varying lengths.

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