Turkey’s Purge Victims Mourn Death of a Hero Professor

Professor Haluk Savas is a symbol of the post-coup era while both alive and dead. The truth is that cancer did not kill him. The injustice and purge did.

Abdullah Ayasun

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Professor Haluk Savas. (Photo Credit: Stockholm Center For Freedom)

“I’ll not be drowned in Meric (Evrosa/Meritsa), I will die while screaming out in my country and everyone will know who persecuted (me).” (Professor Haluk Savas)

When he scrambled to spur the authorities into action to lift a travel ban imposed against him, Professor Haluk Savas, a psychiatrist who was summarily discharged from duty in the blanket post-coup purge in Turkey in 2016, uttered the words above. It was last year and he was fighting lethal cancer. The medical treatment he desperately needed was being provided only in a handful of countries such as Japan, the U.S. and Cuba.

But the professor ran headlong into a set of obstacles generated by a callous political climate where the most vulnerable was susceptible to the most heart-rending treatment by authorities.

“My expected life left is 39 months, 30 of which already passed. It seems that I’ll spend the remaining nine months by communicating with various…

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Abdullah Ayasun

Boston-based journalist and writer. Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. 2023 WHCA Scholar. On art, culture, politics and everything in between. X: @abyasun