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.
“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 departments of the state,” he lamented on Twitter last year.
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Instead of an obedient submission, he chose to combat cancer as well as injustice with only tools available to him: civil disobedience, social media and personal resistance in a peaceful way. As his attempt hit a snag, he launched a campaign on social media and managed to sway the unmoving authorities.
The unflinching fight against injustice and all forms of persecution until his last breath became the defining mark of the professor, cementing his vanguard role for a generation of public servants who were sacked by the government without any semblance of due process.