A Kurdish prisoner in Turkey’s southeastern Siirt (Sêrt) province has been deprived of medical attention despite continuous symptoms that suggest the presence of a brain tumour.
Mehdi Aykaç, 55, suffers from hearing loss and constant headaches, among other symptoms. He is on the 12th year of a life sentence.
“He looks 70,” daughter Eylem Aykaç told Mezopotamya Agency. The man is not allowed doctor visits and has not received an official diagnosis for his ongoing conditions.
Aykaç’s health issues are exacerbated by the prison facilities, including a lack of clean potable water.
“He told us the tap water smelled and looked dirty. It wasn’t even clean enough to wash with, let alone drink. My father is forced to purchase bottled water five times a day in order to do wudhu to pray,” the daughter told reporters.
“We live in fear that any day now we will get a call telling us he’s passed away,” she said.
After raising the issue with his family, Aykaç has been issued a three-month visitation ban and cannot currently contact his family.
In 2021, the Aykaç family was issued an invoice of 11,000 liras ($1,275 at the time) for a year’s worth of food, which the prisoner had described as inedible.
According to 2020 figures, there are at least 1,600 people with chronic conditions in Turkey’s prisons, many of whom have not been convicted yet. Despite an executive order by the Justice Ministry in January last year, problems behind bars continue. In 2022, 39 known sick prisoners lost their lives behind bars.