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Advocating Mercy and Justice: A Plea for Change Amidst Social Persecution in Turkey

The social persecution against the “Gulen Movement” continues unabated in Turkey. They listen to the lament of the oppressor as if they were listening to songs and folk tunes. We saw the latest example of this in the report given to 86-year-old Mustafa Türk from a state hospital in Manisa. This person, whose sentence was upheld by the Court of Cassation, is 98% disabled. He has been paralyzed for years.

Bedridden. Wearing diapers. His speech is slurred due to having suffered two brain hemorrhages. He is a chronic diabetic. His wife passed away recently. Only one of his children is with him. And a report was issued stating that this person with his current health condition could serve his sentence in an “R-type” hospital. He is currently in intensive care. As soon as he is out of intensive care, he will be taken to Menemen prison. The Forensic Medicine Institute has also summoned the patient to Istanbul.

As soon as this news appeared on social media, I posted a short video tweet. After narrating these events, I said, “Spit in the faces of the doctors who issued this report.” Since we are writing this to make it a part of history. Then, let’s record the names of these people who have violated the Hippocratic oaths, regardless of their motives. Orthopedic and Traumatology Specialist Kadir Damgacı; General Surgery Specialist İlkay Yüksel; Ophthalmology Specialist Ercüment Çavdar; Neurology Specialist Gülşen Damgacı; Mental Health and Illness Specialist Sedat Bağdaçiçek; Ear Nose Throat Specialist Turgay Bozkurt; Internal Medicine Specialist Özgür Yılmaz and Health Council President Hacı Gökhan Apucu.

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In my view, these doctors have been condemned in the court of public opinion. Now comes the manifestation of the words spoken in the sentence that begins with “If I do not adhere to the Hippocratic oath…” Allah is just. I hope that sooner or later these doctors will see the worldly consequences of breaking their oaths before taking their last breath.

So, what does the last sentence of that oath say? It says this: “If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and my art, respected always by all humanity and for all time; but should I fail in it, may the opposite be my fate.” In my opinion, these people have violated their oath. Because in the oath, they had said this: “I swear to God, the Almighty, to keep this Oath. To fulfill it to the best of my ability and judgment.”

Now I ask everyone reading this: Mustafa Türk’s health condition is evident. Yet, is the decision to send this person from intensive care directly to an “R-type” prison not an indication that his duty is at odds with his conscience simply due to his affiliation with the “Gulen Movement”? If not, it’s even worse. This means his conscience is completely dead.

Now, speaking of history for the record, let’s talk about Bülent Arınç, who is known for his unique influence within his party. I had made a request to him and asked, “Will you intervene on behalf of Uncle Mustafa Türk, whom you know personally?” He did, bless his heart. He published a one-page text that began with two quotes from Nurettin Topçu. After quoting “Where there is no mercy, there is no human being” and “Humanity is built upon mercy,” he addressed the authorities with admonitions that mercy should be at the center of legal and statutory arrangements.

Like many others who could somewhat perceive the reason behind the writing and sharing of this text, I also began my journey of reading the lines by saying, “Now he will mention Mustafa Türk.” Alas, I reached the end of the article, and Bülent Arınç did not mention Mustafa Türk’s name. So, his influence is limited to this extent? It would have been more meaningful if he had mentioned it, and the text would have gone down in history in a different way. Perhaps, due to his standing as one of the heavyweight figures in his party, it would have facilitated the authorities’ action. But, as I said, he could not mention Mustafa Türk or similar elderly patients affiliated with the movement. He could have given examples from the Kurds. He could have mentioned the elderly patients who might still be in prison from the Ergenekon case.

The most comprehensive sentence he could say in the text was the last sentence: “The solution is simple, and its counterpart is human life, mercy, justice, and conscience. Both connecting the prisoners and convicts and their families to the state should proceed not through revengeful paths, but through embracing, inclusive, and merciful ways. I sincerely desire its realization and will closely follow this matter. I request from the relevant parties to show the will to resolve this matter.”

Despite everything, I thank Mr. Bülent Arınç, one of the founders of AKP and the former spokesperson of the Turkish Parliament, very much. By displaying a humane, conscientious, and moral stance, he showed the difference between what is legal and what should be and then charted a course of action for the authorities. Now it’s the turn of both the “I request” that he mentioned to the authorities and the “I will closely follow” that he said about himself. It will be a great opportunity for the said legal arrangement to be made and implemented in order to put an end to the insufferable injustices, and for the judiciary, stigmatized as the dog of politics, to remove the label that clings to them. We are waiting.

Note: When I sat down at the computer to send this article to the newspaper, what did I see? They discharged Mustafa Türk from intensive care and took him to Menemen prison by ambulance. Let me say it again then: “Spit in the shameless faces of the oppressors!”

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Dr. Ahmet Kurucan is a an author and scholar focusing on Islamic Studies and Law.


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