Purge victim loses battle with cancer after belated diagnosis

Yusuf Uzun, 36, an accounting teacher who was dismissed from his job in a post-coup purge, lost his battle with cancer after his release from prison, where he was unable to get proper treatment, the Kronos news website reported.

Uzun was detained after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. He was held only briefly but was dismissed from his job with an emergency decree-law promulgated during a state of emergency declared after the failed coup. He was later detained again and put under arrest, spending 10 months in prison.

During the time he was incarcerated, Uzun developed edema in his foot and could not get proper medical attention. After his release, Uzun was diagnosed with cancer. He died on Friday afternoon after three years of battling cancer.

His case was pending at an appeals court.

Uzun is one of many who fell victim to Turkey’s relentless post-coup purge as part of which some 150,000 civil servants were dismissed from state jobs and almost 600,000 people were investigated, with half of them detained or arrested on trumped-up terrorism-related charges.

Uzun could not get proper health care although the severity of the edema increased by the day in prison, also causing a delay in the cancer diagnosis. A doctor with whom he shared his prison cell told him to take the edema seriously and to seek effective treatment at a proper hospital.

Along with the cancer, he had to fight a legal battle. He was sentenced to prison on accusations of membership in a terrorist organization.

Commenting on Uzun’s ordeal and death Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a prominent human rights activist and a member of parliament, tweeted: “Again a decree-law case, and again death at such a young age from cancer. Yusuf Uzun was a teacher. He developed cancer after his dismissal and eventual imprisonment. He received treatment for three years; nevertheless, he died at the age of 36. He will be buried tomorrow, leaving behind a grieving widow and two children. Those responsible for this genocide will most certainly be held accountable before justice.”

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