Turkish human rights activist dies of cancer

Turkish human rights activist and professor Haluk Savaş lost his battle to cancer on Tuesday.

Turkish officials last year had cancelled Savaş’s passport, denying one of the country’s leading psychiatry professors battling terminal cancer from seeking alternative treatment abroad. He was later allowed to travel abroad.

Savaş lost his job at a university in a government crackdown following the failed coup in 2016 before being imprisoned on charges of membership in a terrorist organisation.

Savaş told Euronews in March that the refusal to deny him treatment abroad was a violation of his basic human rights.

“If they don’t give me the opportunity to be treated abroad, I will die here in Turkey. Everyone will witness my death and everyone will know who persecuted me,” Euronews quoted Savaş as saying.

Savaş died in a hospital, where he was receiving treatment in the southern province of Adana.

In the crackdown by the Turkish government since the failed coup, more than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, including 6,760 members of the military, and about 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs.