This is a translated version of a letter written by purged and exiled nephrologist Süleyman Türk, sent to the human rights activist Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu.
My father Hacı Mustafa Türk (81) is well known throughout Turkey as he has spent his life doing charity activities, a philanthropist respected for many years by politicians (including Bülent Arinc, Necati Çetinkaya, Celalettin Güvenç, Muzaffer Yurttaş and many others, including Manisa’s governor, rectors, senior bureaucrats and councilors). He is someone who has spent his whole life in his country for the purpose of raising qualified, pious and intellectual people.
He was taken into custody after the July 15 coup attempt. The account of the coup d’état was not asked to the president of the MIT (National Intelligence Agency) and the Chief of General Staff but to my 81-year-old father walking with a walking stick.
In the Manisa prison for about 15 months, he is giving a struggle for survival on a cushion (used as a mattress) on a concrete floor, with a total of 29 people, in a room that normally accommodates 14 people.
He is having severe hygiene problems, as there is only one toilet and one bathroom in the ward. Although he was in the same prison with my brother Mehmet Turk (60), they were not given the same ward until the last two months.
Thankfully they moved my brother next to him two months ago. It was such good news that as family members we have never been so happy in the past year. The whole family were shedding tears, especially my mother, because my brother could now support my father, help him with his essential needs, and moreover my father would be able to take a bath.
My brother was shocked when he saw him, because my father had been unable to bathe for months, so he had serious injuries on his back. He has been in prison for 15 months and his crime is to help poor students and volunteer for charity.
My father who had to wait in a queue to be seen and hugged by everyone and was certainly visited by every person who was going to Ankara as his village was on the way of Ankara, is a modest volunteer living in his village. It was this same person who was arrested after the coup attempt, as it has happened to many innocent people.
One week ago, they were so kind to take him to the court. Members of the court committee said: “You are old, so perhaps we could release you, but witnesses are not attending (four out of seven witnesses did not attend the court hearing), therefore we came to the decision that the detention is appropriate for this reason.”
My own country and government arrested my old dad, aged 81, for collaborating with the coup plotters. I have nothing to say if they really believe this accusation is true. We seek your support to retrieve my father’s freedom as soon as possible. If my father is a great danger for my country, I want an electronic handcuff to be attached to his wrist so that he could be in his house next to my mother. I see my dad crying every night in my dreams. Please, I want this nightmare to come to an end with your help. I wish that all the innocent and the oppressed are set free one day.
Please help us. God bless you.
Prof Dr Süleyman Türk
*On December 1st 2017, Süleyman Türk told that his father was sentenced to 10-year imprisonment accused of membership to a terrorist organisation. He was then released, banned from travelling another country.
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