Visually impaired Büyüközkan says in a letter that he cannot live in prison without help

Mehmet Büyüközkan, a visually impaired Turkish citizen, who was jailed on December 1, 2017 over his alleged links to the Gülen movement, has written a letter to journalist Çağlar Cilara and stated that he cannot walk, eat by himself, or handle his daily needs such as toilet, shower and laundry without the aid of somebody else in the prison.

Sharing the letter sent by Mehmet Büyüközkan to him, journalist Cilara stated in his Twitter account on Friday that “I got a letter sent by a visually impaired citizen who has been imprisoned in Konya E-Type Prison. Whoever has a little conscience should raise voice of Mehmet Büyüközkan. He says “I can not continue my life in prison where I have been kept over alleged links to FETÖ.”

“FETÖ” is a derogatory term coined by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to refer to the Gülen movement.

Büyüközkan who has sent a letter to journalist Emin Çölaşan on December 2017, too, said in his latest letter that “In all these circumstances of current prison environment, I am in need of people I do not know. I constantly bump into things or people in the ward where I am staying. I cannot eat or drink without asking help from someone.”

“While everyone is shaving, bathing, laundering, doing their dishes on their own, I always need someone else’s help to handle these needs. I cannot read and respond legal and administrative documents,” stated Büyüközkan and added that “All these causes me to suffer traumas currently. I’m trying to survive by taking psychiatric medication in prison. The ill-treatment, which I suffer in 21st century being a visually impaired person, has reached the level of torture. If this continues, I am very worried about losing my eyes completely at the last stage of my illness.”

Büyüközkan concluded his letter by demanding support for his release by the court pending trial, taking the presumption of innocence into consideration, and until his trial’s result and the finalization of the decision.

The full text of Mehmet Büyüközkan to Çağlar Cilara is as follows:

“Venerable Sir,

I am a visually impaired citizen by birth. I have been detained in Konya E type closed penitentiary institution since December 1, 2017. I am in the last stage of retinitis pigmentosa known as night blindness or nyctolopia. This illness is characterized by constant progression, especially under stress. I enclose two essays of experts about this illness.

I have had a permanent disability health report from Konya Numune Hospital since 2010. Due to this report, Ministry of Family and Social Policies provided me with an ID card for disability needed accompaniment. I enclose the photocopies of the report and the card too.

I am a visually impaired citizen who cannot walk, eat by himself, or handle his daily needs such as toilet, shower and laundry without the aid of somebody else. In all these circumstances of current prison environment, I am in need of people I do not know. I constantly bump into things or people in the ward where I am staying. I cannot eat or drink without asking help from someone. While everyone is shaving, bathing, laundering, doing their dishes on their own, I always need someone else’s help to handle these needs. I cannot read and respond legal and administrative documents. The exam entrance, document showing that I needed to be accompanied because I cannot read and write on my own, is also enclosed.

All these causes me to suffer traumas currently. I’m trying to survive by taking psychiatric medication in prison. The ill-treatment, which I suffer in 21st century being a visually impaired person, has reached the level of torture. If this continues, I am very worried about losing my eyes completely at the last stage of my illness.

I cannot keep my life going, while being an ordinary citizen who cannot meet his needs and who needs aid of companionship, who is detained in prison charged with FETO/PDY with vague accusations that are not true.

My wish from Turkish Justice and from you, honorable sir, is your support of my release by the court pending trial, taking the presumption of innocence into consideration, and until my trial’s result and the finalization of the decision.

I am expressing my gratitude in advance for your support and I offer my respects for acceptance.

Mehmet Büyüközkan”

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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 has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2018. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “Even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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