IRCT has sent letters of appeal to the Government of Turkey calling on the immediate release of Dr Gökalp. Dr Gökalp, a medical doctor with the IRCT member Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), was detained by police on 20 November 2020.
Dr Gökalp was formally arrested on 23 November, being accused of attending an “illegal meeting”. The public authorities have, however, no evidence of his presence at this meeting. IRCT believes that the arrest and charges against Dr Gökalp are an attempt to silence him for conducting his professional and ethical duties to provide essential healthcare and defend human rights.
The arrest of Dr Gökalp comes at a time where Turkey has increased its repression against health professionals and more recently, those who speak out against the government’s handling of the Covid-19 response.
Just in November of this year, Dr Serdar Küni, a medical doctor with HRFT, was sentenced to four years and two months in prison for providing healthcare during a time of open-ended curfews in the southeast of Turkey
We call on the Turkish government to:
1.Guarantee the physical and psychological integrity of Dr Gökalp.
2.Immediately release him from custody and drop all charges against him.
3.Put an end to reprisals against health professionals and human rights defenders in Turkey.
We also take this opportunity to remind the Turkish government that by providing medical and psychosocial support, health professionals play an invaluable role in overcomingt the Covid-19 pandemic as well as promoting healing, justice and freedom for its citizens.
Read the letter to the President of Turkey here