Mehmet Burhan, a teacher who is serving a sentence on conviction of links to the faith-based Gülen movement, died of heart failure two months after he was released for medical reasons, the Kronos news website reported.
Burhan was denied treatment at a Çorum prison for 10 months before he was finally able to see a doctor in October who recognized his cardiac distress and his need for surgery, according to his wife, who spoke to the media.
On December 4, two months after his release, another doctor he saw told him that he was too late, that he had only three years to live and that he urgently needed surgery, referring him to a medical center in Ankara.
“Before we were able to set off for Ankara, his heart collapsed under the weight of what he had gone through and what he just heard, and he died the same day,” his wife said.
Formerly a public school teacher, Burhan was dismissed from his job in September 2016 as part of a massive post-coup purge.
He was subsequently sentenced to more than six years in prison for Gülen links due to his union membership, banking transactions and donating to Gülen-affiliated charity campaigns.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the 2013 corruption investigations, 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 in 2016 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.