According to a 2020 report by Turkey’s Human Rights Association, there are more than 1600 prisoners in Turkey with health conditions, and at least 605 have a serious condition.
The brother of a political prisoner with hearing and visual impairment, diabetes and loss of movement in one foot spoke to Mesopotamia News Agency demanding his release.
Mehmet Onoğulu, brother of Abdullah Onoğulu who has been imprisoned for 27 years, said that his brother’s condition continued to deteriorate and he was being arbitrarily denied medical treatment by the prison authorities.
Explaining that his brother had been captured and tortured for 40 days after clashes in Turkey’s southeastern province of Dersim in 1994, Mehmet Onoğulu indicated that his brother’s health problems had started to emerge after his first few years in prison.
“Petitions and complaints were lodged after each problem arose,” he added. “We’ve recently made public statements through the Human Rights Association. I have personally sent several petitions to the Ministry of Health. There’s no improvement in his condition. The longer he goes without treatment, the worse his problems get.”
Mehmet Onoğulu complained that the state authorities acted with indifference towards the health problems of the prisoners, noting that there were thousands of prisoners in similar situations:
“There are people inside with worse conditions than my brother. It is not only him we want released. If there’s a solution to be found, it must cover all sick prisoners.”
A previous report by the Human Rights Association, from 2018, stated that at least 3500 prisoners had died of illness in Turkey in the 17 years preceding the report.