Gökalp, former Member of the Turkish Medical Association Central Council, is a physician and a human rights advocate. He has worked in Diyarbakır Medical Assocation’s commissions on human rights, workers’ health and occupational diseases. He worked as a volunteer physician at Human Rights Association in Turkey to document torture cases.
On 30 January 2018, Şeyhmus Gökalp was detained, together with the other members of the Turkish Medical Association Central Council. This happened after the release of a joint statement on 24 January 2018, condeming Turkey’s military operation in Afrin, Syria. The Council members stated that armed violence was “a matter of public health”. Gökalp was charged with “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” and “inciting the public to hatred or hostility”. On 2 February 2018, he was released on probation but is facing two to six years in prison. As a result of his detention, he was dismissed from his position at Diyarbakır Central Bank where he worked on staff health.
All members of the Central Council, including Gökalp, are being prosecuted for their statement. The first hearing of the case took place on 27 December 2018.
On 3 May 2019, the eleven previous Central Council members, including Dr Şeyhmus Gökalp, were sentenced to 20 months of imprisonment for ‘inciting the public to hatred or hostility.
Besides Şeyhmus Gökalp, two of the other members, Vice President Dr. Sinan Adıyaman and and Dr. Ayfer Horasan were also released on probation on 2 February 2018. As for the rest, President Dr. Raşit Tükel, General Secretary Dr. Sezai Berber, Dr. Hande Arpat, Dr. Selma Güngör, Dr. Funda Obuz, Dr. Yaşar Ulutaş, Dr. Bülent Nazım Yılmaz and Dr. Taner Gören were all released on probation following their deposition at the prosecutor’s office on 4 February 2018.
Şeyhmus Gökalp, member of the TTB High Honorary Board, was taken into custody with a large number of rights defenders, lawyers and representatives of NGOs on 20 November 2020, within the scope of the investigation against the Democratic Society Congress (DTK). The Turkish Medical Association issued a statement, demanding that Gökalp be released. Gökalp was taken to court and was arrested on 23 November 2020, with the allegation of “being a member of the terrorist organization”.
The indictment prepared against Gökalp was accepted by the Diyarbakır 10th High Criminal Court. While 54 pages of the 55-page indictment are devoted to allegations that DTK is an “illegal entity”, one page consists of the accusations against Gökalp. In the indictment, which included DTK’s delegate list, Gökalp was accused of attending two separate DTK congresses held on March 26, 2016 and September 16, 2017. However, Gökalp stated that he did not attend the congresses in question.
Şeyhmus Gökalp, who was asked to be sentenced from 7 years 6 months to 15 years in prison, was released at the first hearing on February, 10, 2021.
Witness Hicran Berna Ayverdi, whose statements were considered evidence, was heard in the second hearing held on June 25, 2021. Ayverdi changed his statement at the hearing and said that she has no information whether Gökalp was on the DTK Health Committee or not.