Human Rights Defender and Psychiatrist. Prof.Dr.Haluk Savaş gave a broad and striking interview to Youm7, the respected newspaper of Egypt and the Arab world.
Mentioned many issues on the agenda in the interview, Savaş made various statements saying that people saw that change was possible. We translated this valuable interview for you. Here are some chapters from the stunning interview,
- Why you and all your friends dissmissed after the turkishcoup ?
Allegedly, the people especially who are in a close relationship with FetullahGülen social/religious movement were dismissed from government positions after 15th of July, and it is said that the number of those people is between 130,000 and 150,000. Besides,100,000 more teachers and other employees working in schools such as universities, high schools, secondary schools, primary schools, pre-schools working under Gülen also lost their jobs. Namely, the AKP government basically determined the Gülen movement as a rival to it, and described those involved in the Gülen movement as anti-government and dismissed them from government positions for allegedly being part of a terrorist organization. For instance, on the night of 15 July, nearly 3,000 prosecutors and judges were immediately dismissed.Hundreds of thousands of people were dismissed from government positions as a result of pre-made blacklisting before even figuring out what the incident was.Among these, it is understood that soldiers, judges and prosecutors and the police were the main target groups.In addition, around 8,000 faculty members were dismissed. What caused this dismissing was actually being a government opponent. Indeed, within this framework, certain leftist groups and Kurdish nationalist groups were also liquidated, that is, approximately 140-145,000 people from the Gülen Community and around 5-10,000 people from the left and the Kurdish movement were removed from the state.
- Can you tell me about what you & your friends face off from 2016 till now?
First of all, many of those close to the Gülen community were not only expelled from university or official duties, but also had legal action.They were tried as members of a terrorist organization on justifications that they had accounts at a bank close to Gülen, their children were students in schools close to Gülen, and they were members of unions close to Gülen, so all activities that were accepted as legal until that time were made illegal and those connected with them started to be tried as members of the terrorist organization.Few were also tried for helping the terrorist organization, even though they were not members of the terrorist organization. Such that, even those who donated 5 TRY for the activity of opening water wells in poor countries of Africa were tried for aid to the terrorist organization.Although a significant part of them were acquitted from these trials, a significant number of them have been forced to stay in prisons for 3.5 years as the cases have not been concluded due to their long periods of imprisonment.The workplaces of many wealthy Gülen fans were taken away, confiscated, and people could not buy and sell their own goods.People were forced to go abroad due to the following pressure. In other words, they were drowning in rivers and seas while trying to go to Germany and European countries via Greece, and they had so much trouble. Especially the society close to the AKP labelled, excluded and humiliated these people.In addition, the government encouraged this exclusion, and for example they were exposed to mass threats, such that these people will be avenged on the streets if necessary, our people know how to deal with them. They did not care about their illness when they were put in prison. I was put in prison too, I stayed there about two months.Although I had biliary tract and pancreatic cancer, I almost wouldn’t have been operated there. In fact, I was sent back to the prison from the university hospital, even though this is the world’s heaviest cancer type, there was an effort to make me die.This was not just about me; it was the treatment that was favored for all Gülen fans. Similarly, the same bad treatment was favored for the expelled people from the left and from the Kurdish movement.However, since there is no evidence about them like a bank or a community school, most of them still cannot be subjected to very serious treatment, there have not been legal action against them, and even they have not been in a court, but especially the supporters of Gülen were severely abused and excluded by the society. Most of the time, they have been mistreated as traitors and continue to be by their own families, their mothers, fathers, siblings, and relatives.
- And how you see the turkish government treats the opponentes?
The Turkish government has been showing very harsh and bad treatment against all opponents. This is not only about religionists and Gülen supporters, but before, almost like genocide practices were carried out in Kurdish cities in eastern provinces. Neighbourhoods were burned down, bombs were detonated, and different bad practices were done. All were actually the most important evidence of how hostilethe AKP considers the opponents.
- Also what do you think about the human rights field in turkey?
In terms of human rights violations, Turkey has performed badly in the last four or five years.Especially, not only against the groups of people whose jobs were taken after the coup, not only to leave them unemployed, but also the government deprived their children of various rights, and even if they won the state duty, they did not give these duties to them after security investigations, for example, they could not work as a doctor if they became a doctor. In addition, if a teacher were dismissed, he would not work as a teacher anymore. They wanted to do a similar practice for doctors, but they stopped doing it because of doctor deficit in hospitals belonging to the governments’ own groups.Especially in occupational groups such as soldiers, police, judges and prosecutors, they took those people under pressure very violently; many of them have been rotting in prisons.Retirement rights of people have been taken away.For example, although I deserve my right to retirement, my retirement was delayed by 7-8 months, and even though I wrote exactly 16 petitions, none of them were given true and correct answers.Therefore, there has been a complete disgrace and collapse in the field of human rights.The Republic of Turkey was not such a structure, and it is now becoming one of the worst countries in the world in the field of human rights.Freedom of expression has been severely collapsed. Prisons are full of journalists, or opponents who try to express themselves have all beenimprisoned. Thus, Turkey has failed in the field of human rights.
- There are many statements about the spread of corona virus in Turkey and health sector failure, can you explain the immediate situation in Turkey?
The Minister of Health announced the first corona virus case on March 11. Then it turned out that there are about 250-300 deaths nowadays.It is understood that hundreds of thousands of people live with the threat of disease. In the huge Turkish State, only 7-15 thousand tests can be performed per day.If we assume that 8500 tests are performed per day, it seems that scanning process will only be completed 3 years later. So the government caused the spreading of the virus by not acting transparently, not explaining the correct information, and by not explaining the cities where the deaths happened.
- And What about the political prisoners, how they face off the ardoghan’s government treatment?
There are deaths in prisons now. That’s why there is an effort to evacuate the prisons. By the way, there is a very interesting situation; those who commit rape crimes, murdered children and women, and drug dealers are included in the scope of amnesty, but Gülen supporters or political criminals or members of the Kurdish movement or people from the left continue to rot in prisons.At present, commission meetings are ongoing in the parliament on this issue, and it is seen that MHP, the important partner of the AKP, is struggling to pardon the worst crimes and save the prisons from corona virus. However, the same rights are tried not to be given to thinkers, politicians, journalists and intellectuals and criminals of thought from other branches.
- Are you and others do something till your voices of justice reach to the international community or organizatonesintrests in human rights?
We opened a YouTube channel called KHK TV to announce our rights and suffering to the world. I am the founder and executive editor of the channel. There is a board from various professions, an executive board of about 8 people is operating, and there are about 15 reporters.This TV broadcast is streaming on YouTube and trying to announce the voices of all kinds of opponents to the world. This TV has also started broadcasting in English and German with subtitles.Contact points have now been created with the European Union. We can share our problems with them, but it is going limited now. We also had the opportunity to explain the situation to some foreign journalists.Since I am a cancer patient, I got sick in prison and I have serious concerns about my health, I can only move at a certain level, but there is a large group called KHK(Decrees with Force of Law) Platforms and approximately 1500-2000 people are organized.KHK Platforms serve in 25 different cities.These people work for the victims of the Erdogan Regime to come together and organize.Also, these groups are in contact with our TV. Now we have made a website called the Union of KHK Platforms, and we write and publish the negative incidents in Turkey in this website. We are publishing Turkish yet.However, our TV also announces those with English and German subtitles.A very partial contact has started with foreign organizations. We also give interviews to some foreign news agencies and some foreign journalists.For example, although I got out of prison, I was acquitted; when I wanted to continue my treatment in Europe as a cancer patient, the Erdogan government did not want to give me a passport, but when the international public and international television organizations mentioned the event, the government stepped back and had to give me a special permit.I went to Germany and continued my treatment.We have come a long way in the treatment by going to Germany 3 times.Therefore, it is now possible to contact abroad more or less.Erdogan government now tries to make some improvements in prisons after corona virus. This pressure will drop significantly if the government does not resist here, and gives people’s rights back or discharges those people. However, even if the government does not try to reduce this pressure, the members of KHK platform in Turkey are evolving toward a point that they could make their voices heard by world public. For example, we organize Twitter campaigns. Almost every evening, between 500,000 and 1,000,000 tweets are posted, developments are announced to the world, and sometimes we determine some topics in English, but these are generally Turkish. Such activities bring the victims together in Turkey.Many right-wing, left-wing, religious and atheist opponents are coming together and supporting each other. For this reason, Erdogan regime explained the prestige they lost with their own words.They said that we cannot catch up with official state channels, televisions, radios and newspapers. Since they did not work well with a few media-owned newspapers that were their own supporters, and since they were not effective in the field, they had to close them. It is now mentioned that the Erdogan government will undertake an operation against about 1500-2000 people. There is information that activities will be carried out especially against social media.
- How you live now, your friends which have the same situation?
Conditions are still too heavy for Erdogan regime opponents in Turkey. However, the fact that they are getting organized, coming together, fighting against the government also brings them a new power, and especially the organization of the opponents in the political field and winning the election in the big cities such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir led to a serious loss of morale and motivation on the ruling front, and the opponents and the oppressed increasingly have trusted each other. For instance, in the last few days, I see nearly 1000 followers increase in my twitter account. I interpret it like this; people saw that change is possible again and they act boldly and become more open.
- What do think about Ardoghan’ policies and if he continues in rule?
If Erdogan can remain in power after that, and if he can run the hardness model, he can get harder, but he sees that he has lost considerable power and decreases the hardness to some extent, we also see it. If Erdogan remains in the government, not too long in the future, within 1-2 years, I can see that he would be forced to run away, and if elections can be made in Turkey, just as the March 31 elections as municipalities seriously changed hands, the government will also change hands in Turkey. Now opponents are also learning not to be beaten by the government, and are looking into ways to get rid of this serious pressure by further cooperation with each other.If the Erdogan regime will continue to get harder, it will suffer serious losses, and if it does not, it will have to abandon power in the not too long future since the opponents are well organized from now on.Erdogan will somehow have to find a way to deal with opponents.In both cases, I foresee that he will not be able to stay in power in the long term by hardening or softening.In this interview, I would like to thank you very much for supporting us in raising our voices and making our voices heard. If something is not understood, we can proceed with new questions and answers.I wish you success in your work.In the future, we will be able to contact in written or verbal form. I wish you success.