Ankara Medical Chamber (ATO) held a press conference about the imprisonment of physician Şeyhmus Gökalp yesterday (December 24).
Addressing the reporters about Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp, who is also the High Honorary Board member and former Central Council member of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and has been arrested since November 23, the chamber has called for his immediate release.
The conference was attended by TTB 2nd Chair Dr. Ali İhsan Ökten, TTB High Honorary Board member Dr. Sezai Berber, ATO Chair Dr. Ali Karakoç, ATO Secretary General Dr. Muharrem Baytemür and ATO Administrative Board member Dr. Haydar Can Dokuyan.
‘A country that detains a human rights statue’
Taking the floor first, Dr. Ali İhsan Ökten indicated that Gökalp struggled for good medicine and human rights all through his career and life.
“We are the only country that has detained a human rights statue by setting up a barricade around it. A country which detains a human rights statue can, of course, detain its own citizens without giving any justifications.”
TTB 2nd Chair Ökten also underlined that “Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp was taken into custody and arrested based on anonymous witness statements, with no questions asked, as if he had done something illegal.”
“We demand that our friend Şeyhmus be released as soon as possible,” said Dr. Ali İhsan Ökten while Dr. Sezai Berber, taking the floor after him, reiterated that Gökalp was “arrested based on the false statements and abstract allegations of an informant.”
‘He was arrested due to informant’s slanders’
Reading the statement for the press, Dr. Ali Karakoç reminded his audience that Gökalp had been arrested for 35 days based on the allegations of an informant: “This informant gave statements about several people at the time of surrender in 2016. Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp was not mentioned in the statements given by this informant at the time of surrender.
“For an unknown reason, three years after turning oneself in, on March 26, 2019, the informant made abstract confessions about Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp, just as s/he did about several other physicians.”
‘Arrests used as a tool of oppression’
Dr. Karakoç further noted that the arrest of Dr. Gökalp was used as a threat against other individuals struggling for democracy in Turkey: “Moreover, it is also intended to be used as a tool to oppress the professional organizations that have been waging a struggle for a democratic Turkey.”
Indicating that a trial without arrest is essential in the penal code of Turkey, Dr. Ali Karakoç demanded the immediate release of Dr. Gökalp, considering that he was facing charges without concrete evidence. Noting that Gökalp should be released pending trial, he stressed that they would not stop struggling for democracy, labor and health rights.