Turkey seeks 15 year jail sentence for top medical body member

Turkish Medical Association (TTB) High Honour Council Member Şeyhmus Gökalp is facing up to 15 years in prison over terrorism charges, Mezopotamya agency reported on Saturday, based on an indictment prepared by the chief public prosecutor in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakır province.

The majority of the 55-page indictment focused on proving that the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), a platform of Kurdish associations and movements in Turkey, was an illegal organisation, according to Mezopotamya, and one page accused Gökalp of attending two DTK congresses in 2016 and 2017.

 One of the pieces of evidence against the TTB member was that his name and phone number was found in a list that the police discovered in a raid on DTK’s Diyarbakır offices in October. The indictment also cited a Court of Cassation ruling that upheld the terrorism convictions of two former co-chairs of the DTK as proof that the umbrella organisation should be considered illegal.

The accusations against Gökalp included testimony by an eye witness, who had also testified against the dismissed mayor of Diyarbakır, Dr Selçuk Mızraklı. The former mayor has since been imprisoned.

The witness told the prosecutor that Gökalp had treated several people who had suffered injuries as they threw stones and Molotov cocktails to the police, mirroring her testimony against Mızraklı.

Gökalp “treated young people and terrorist organisation members … using the means available to him in the hospital he worked at and his professional knowledge,” the witness said, and accused the doctor of smuggling out medical supplies from the private Veni Vidi Hospital to be sent to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militias.

Gökalp has not worked in the hospital in question.

The TTB member will have his first hearing on Feb. 10.

The DTK has faced intensified crackdown in recent weeks, with Kurdish former deputy Leyla Güven being sentenced to 22 years in prison, a court ordering the arrest of 101 politicians affiliated with the DTK, another former deputy and former DTK co-chair Aysel Tuğluk being remanded in custody, and columnist Yusuf Karataş facing more than 10 years in prison.

Turkey maintains that the group is affiliated with the PKK, which is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union, and the United States, among others.