I was born in a mountain village in Trabzon. Our village is 30 kilometers from the beach.
I’m a worker’s child. My father worked in Germany for 16 years. When I was 10, Mommy died in a car accident. After that, I went to school in Germany.
I graduated from middle school and high school there. And my grades were very good. I was getting notes like “gout” and “sehr gout.” I’ve been studying hard. Because I knew I had to study. In my village, there was no chance of a future in terms of education. There were maybe three or four people in our village who graduated from college before me. In 1984, our family decided to return to Turkey. We’re back from Germany. A lot of expatriates were returning at that time. We decided to return to Turkey with the effect of homeland love and longing. Homeland love. How would you know? In the future, I would be labeled as terrorist. As you see, I come from a classic Black Sea family with nationalist and conservative values.
I studied. I was supported to study. I became a medical doctor. I am a graduate of Marmara University. I could have described myself as “Homeland lover.” I worked in the east and west of Turkey. I was in Kocaeli in the 1999 earthquake. Even though I was assigned to Edirne as a lecturer, I decided to stay there for a month and serve, help people. In particular, I was an interpreter for foreigners who came to the Health Directorate. I started academic life in Edirne in October. I worked there for seven years. In general, I can say that my life is full of successes.
I am one of the top 10 professors in the field of family medicine in Turkey. My mother tongue is Turkish. I also know English, German, Arabic fluently.
I worked for four years in Saudi Arabia as a consultant to the Saudi Ministry of Health. I worked as an expert. In 2009, we decided to return to Turkey. Again, homeland love. This time, my wife really missed the country. We came and settled in Erzurum. I worked at Atatürk University.
I think I’ve made a significant contribution to that university, too. For example, we built an automation program called “Mevlana World Network.” It’s an automation that I think has significant contributions to be international. Later, we started giving regular courses to Kazakh students. We organized “research methods” courses for them. They were coming regularly. They were periodically training from us and going back to their hometown. I was the dean of the School of Pharmacy. For a period, we had activities related to curriculum development and training programs. I presided over the Department of Family Medicine, and Bio Statistics. I’ve trained a lot of medical students, assistants, associate teachers. I organized Student Scientific Research Congresses. I did three of them in Erzurum. I suggest you look at their booklets. Has it been done again since then? Is it made before? Please check. My number of articles, congressional papers and books is around 400. I have a YouTube channel with about 500 tutorials. I suggest you take a look at the YouTube channel.
I do not know whether any other professor in Turkey has offered so much educational material in this field. I’m a member of many international associations. These include, in particular, the European First Order Family Medicine and the First Order Quality Association. I’m a founding member of EQuiP. I worked for this association for about 20 years. I was a treasurer. I went to all their meetings. I invited them to Turkey and guested them.
Long story short, 2015 has arrived. We decided to settle in Izmir. We moved to Izmir as family. We decided to lead a lifestyle that is our dream. At that time, there was Şifa University in Izmir. It was a successful university. Everything was going well. We were happy with life, too. But everyone has a plan, and Allah has a plan. He had things he wanted to do. Things didn’t go as we expected. There was a coup attempt. The university was shut down, I’ve been out of a job.
Of course, since I have experience abroad, I first took a job abroad. Didn’t I try my luck in Turkey? I tried. I wrote letters to at least 8-9 places, demanded a job. I wrote to universities where I previously contributed to their education. I wrote to universities I don’t know. They didn’t even write back. A college wrote a reply. He said with courtesy, “we don’t have open position”. Before that, they had been sending office vehicle; they had been inviting me for seminars and courses at their universities.
While looking for jobs abroad, I signed a contract in Medina. I made a deal under the Saudi Ministry of Health. I was going to work in Medina on $15,000 a month’s salary. This was the most important opportunity of my life. It was a big project where other professors from Turkey would be invited.
But on the way out, I was detained at the airport. I was arrested on September 2, 2016. I was imprisoned for 14 months and a week. I’d like to tell you about the prison life, what I went through there. I tell you, “I’ve noticed late that the stone is hard; water drowns human and fire burns.”
The values I believe in have turned upside down. It was a terrible, devastating blow to me, I can’t describe it. I wanted to die. I tell you this, maybe you’ll understand. I couldn’t believe it at first. I said, “They’re joking. So they arrest me?” I was a man who was ready to die for the country. I carried the wounded soldier on my shoulder in Şenkaya during the skirmish. I took it out of the skirmish. In order to represent my country and my nation, I exchanged my mother’s gold, and spent it in congresses and meetings abroad.
The fact is that the real blow was made to the people of Anatolia. Unfortunately, the religious people have also been applauded for it. At least they ignored it. That’s what I think. I think I was sacrificed for the sake of simple interests like home, car, road, salary. People like me and myself, hundreds of thousands of people who grew up in difficult conditions, have been wasted in this period.
Now I’ve half-freedom for two years. When you say half-freedom, you know, I can’t go abroad, no job. I can’t work anywhere else. I’m doing translations on the balcony of my house. I am giving consulting remote. I’m waiting for the process to be completed. I’m waiting for them to give me my passport. If they let me live free the rest of my life, I’ll go to another country and live there for the rest of my life. Let me not cause any more trouble to the great Turkish nation, let me walk away.
My perceptions of value have changed significantly. I saw what I knew was right was wrong, what I knew was wrong was right. In the meantime, I’ve been tagged by some of my relatives. My friends didn’t call me. They stopped following me on social media! I’ve been removed from the scientific boards of magazines. My name has been erased from the board of association administrations. The Expert Association has not published my book, which is ready to print 2 volumes – a thousand pages, with the contribution of over 60 professors.
What is sacred? We need to review our sacred definition. We must stop worshiping the state, race, power, and money, and become a servant of Allah. First, we have to be human. I think we should be human.
Of course, on the other hand, I’ve seen people with conscience in this time frame. For example, there was a photograph used in a presentation by my French colleague Marc Jamoulle, which is very valuable to me. It was compiled from what I’ve been through. He shared it with the people he was presenting. My German, Saudi colleagues, my friends, my professor Deborah in America… My colleagues and friends from all over the world give me warm wishes. There’s a program called “Scholar at Risk”. I told them my circumstance. They were more interested and reputed than people in Turkey.
On the other hand, I learned that during this time, the Human Rights Society also helped of the victims. I didn’t know enough about their activities before.
This time period has revealed people who are sensitive to human rights, animal rights, even the environment. My children are more sensitive to the rights of the oppressed than I am. We say in name only, “The oppressed has no religion, no tongue, no color.” There are people in practice who advocate it now.
People who can’t come together and work together in the old Turkey are now fighting together under the same KHK platform. For the sake of rights. These people and subsequent generations, in my opinion, can be a source of hope for the world and for Turkey. If you think you’re not involved in dirty, filthy jobs; favoritism, bribery, theft; slander, persecution then come and make a video of yourself. Let people know you, too. Let them know what you’ve been through.
In the end, maybe we would not just be a society that weeps to its own death but learn to be altruistic.
“I’ve become a flood by stopping, saints. I don’t know whether I should gurgle or not” says Mahsuni Şerif. Sometimes, I have the same feelings.
My life turned upside down because of what I’ve been through in the last few years. Who knows, maybe underground is better than upside. I don’t know. Let’s wait and see. Never lose the hope.