Halil Karakoç was arrested 10 days after July 15. Despite having a fractured hip, he stayed at the Manisa Police Department for 30 days. During the week-long interrogation, Karakoç was asked, “Why do people visit you so much? Why do they love you so much?” He replied, “I am a religious man, it is my duty to instill love in people. They loved me, it’s not my fault.”
Halil Karakoç, a retired imam from Manisa, who was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison for donating to an aid organization known for its proximity to the Gulen Movement, was arrested on January 6, 2021, after his sentence was upheld by the Court of Cassation. He suffered a heart attack in Menemen R Type Prison.
A family member providing information about the heart attack suffered by Karakoç said, “We learned that Halil Karakoc had a heart attack and fell to the ground while trying to walk in his cell this week. He hit his head on the ground, resulting in swelling, bruising, and abrasions. Since Menemen is a rehabilitation-type prison, they have a nurse and a doctor. They took care of him, but it would be best to take him to a fully equipped hospital for all the necessary tests.”
HE SPENT 30 DAYS IN DETENTION
Halil Karakoç was arrested 10 days after the coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Despite having a fractured hip, he stayed at the Manisa Police Department for 30 days. Halil Karakoç, a retired imam who spent about 1.5 years in Manisa Type T Prison, experienced great difficulties during his time in prison. He had a fractured hip before entering prison and became unable to step on his foot in the cell. After his condition was reported to the court, he was released.
VISITED BY CHP DEPUTY TANRIKULU IN PRISON
CHP Istanbul Deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, who visited Halil Karakoç in August last year, said the following:
“He has many illnesses. He was detained and arrested when he was a retired religious officer. He stayed in prison for about 16 months, then he was released and has been in prison again for almost 20 months. He has heart problems, diabetes, prostate issues, and he can only come to visit with the help of a cane. He was recently referred to the Forensic Medicine Institution. The Forensic Medicine Institution gave a report stating that he can stay in a rehabilitation hospital or in prison, so he is staying in Menemen R Type Prison.
I call once again, there are nearly 1,600 sick people in prisons, around 600 of them are severely ill. There are elderly detainees and convicts, pregnant women staying in prison with their babies, women, and mothers with children. Unfortunately, collective punitive measures are being taken against them. Sick prisoners and detainees, elderly prisoners and detainees, and mothers with babies should be released with alternative measures. Halil Karakoç is one of them. He only has his wife, he doesn’t have children, and she is in Manisa. It is also very difficult for him to visit her. I appeal to the Forensic Medicine Institution once again: Please have some conscience when giving these reports. Adhere to the ethical rules of medicine and do not condemn these prisoners to death in prison. Because their right to life is also under threat. I appeal once again to the Ministry, I appeal to the Forensic Medicine Institution: Abandon these collective punitive practices, treat the sick prisoners and detainees, the elderly prisoners and detainees, and the mothers with babies more compassionately.”
HE WAS ARRESTED WHILE NEEDING CARE
After being released, Halil Karakoç spent 1.5 months in Ege University Hospital, where a plate was placed in his hip. His treatment continued at home. Unable to walk, struggling to meet his personal needs, and unable to leave the house, Karakoç was clinging to life with the help of his wife Hatice Karakoç, who was in her 70s. His family members took care of his household needs as he had difficulty even drinking a cup of tea.
Karakoç, who suffered from diabetes, cholesterol, heart, and stomach problems, took a handful of medications every day. Two years ago, he was arrested again.
BECAME A TENANT IN HIS OWN HOUSE
Halil Karakoç, who relied on his retirement pension, had donated his three-story house in Manisa to the Feza Education Foundation in previous years. However, since the properties of the foundations that were closed after July 15 were seized by the state, Karakoç now resides in his own house as a tenant.
Bekir Bayram, an Isparta tradesman who retired from the Social Security Institution (SSK) by working in his father’s boutique hotel, made a living by doing painting, construction, and other jobs in his youth. He also worked as a laborer in Libya for a period of time. Bekir Bayram, who was arrested on November 2, 2017, as part of the investigations into his alleged membership in the Gulen Movement, was sentenced to 9 years and 4 months in prison based on his two visits to the United States and witness statements. His case was approved by the Court of Cassation.
He has heart, diabetes, and hypertension problems. He was transferred from Isparta CİK to Antalya before the Ramadan Bayram for an angiography. After the angiography, his condition worsened significantly, and he is unable to stand up at all, confined to a wheelchair. He cannot take a shower.
He cannot walk, bathe himself, or meet his personal needs. He uses adult diapers on his own.
Bayram, who entered prison weighing 130 kilograms, lost 40 kilograms within four years. Due to meniscus tears in his knees, he cannot stand. During the open visit on August 1, 2022, he told his family that he hadn’t been able to take a shower for weeks and that he uses adult diapers for his toilet needs. He struggles to put them on and take them off by himself.
He was sentenced to 9 years and 9 months in prison for his alleged membership in the Gulen movement, and he has been in Afyonkarahisar Dinar Prison since January 7, 2019. He is 80 years old (officially 77). His right eye became blind in prison.
After undergoing cataract surgery, Abdullah Aydoğan lost his vision due to edema caused by unhealthy conditions. He cannot take care of any of his personal needs, including personal hygiene.
In addition to eye problems, he also suffers from severe hearing loss, prostate issues, hypertension, diabetes, and a severe hernia.
Abdullah Aydoğan’s wife, Gazel Aydoğan, called for him to be placed under house arrest due to his loss of vision.
In her husband’s visit, Gazel Aydoğan said, “I requested to sit next to him, and this time they allowed it at one end of the table. When he entered prison, there was nothing wrong with his eyes. He developed cataracts in prison. When the doctor said there was a tear in his eye, they operated on him for three hours. The other inmates help him with eating and drinking. Due to calcification in his knees, he struggles to use the toilet. He can’t hear, he can’t see, he has all these problems. He will spend 27 more months in prison. He should be given house arrest.
Abdullah Aydoğan, who has been a tradesman in Afyonkarahisar for many years, was detained on July 26, 2016, on charges of membership in the Gulen movement and was arrested two days later. After spending 9 months in prison, he was released, but then he was sentenced to 9 years and 9 months based on various grounds such as donating land to a closed college, a football field, having a Bank Asya account, newspaper subscriptions, and various phone conversations. On January 7, 2019, his sentence was upheld, and despite being elderly and ill, he was sent back to prison 19 months later.
Abdullah Aydoğan faced pressure from both his family and official institutions to benefit from effective repentance. He was quoted as saying, “What do I have to confess? How many years of life do I have left anyway…”