Expression Interrupted

Journalists and academics bear the brunt of the massive crackdown on freedom of expression in Turkey. Scores of them are currently subject to criminal investigations or behind bars. This website is dedicated to tracking the legal process against them.

Journalist jailed on coup charges says his health deteriorates

Journalist jailed on coup charges says his health deteriorates

 73-year old journalist Şahin Alpay says he was told he needs to have an angiogram by a cardiologist who recently examined him


Political science professor and former Zaman columnist Şahin Alpay, who has been imprisoned on “coup” related charges for more than a year, has said his health condition is getting worse.

In an open letter published by the Platform for Independent Journalism (P24), the 73-year old journalist shared details of his health condition. Recalling that he was first taken into police custody on July 27, 2016 and later arrested and placed in pretrial detention on July 30, 2017, Alpay listed various conditions that he has suffered from for a long time. He said he was diagnosed with a spinal hernia in 1986, and he had managed the condition doing physical exercises ordered by his doctor. Alpay also wrote that he had been sleeping with the aid of a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine for the past 20 years, due to his sleep apnea. He said he had been allowed to use this device both while under custody and at Silivri prison.

The journalist also said he had been taking medication for ten years to treat his diabetes, high cholesterol, high uric acid and also had fatty liver disease, benign enlargement of the prostate, excess modules in his thyroid glands, a narrowing of the arteries in the neck, a cyst located outside his skull. He said in 2016, he underwent colonoscopy and endoscopy operations, which led to a diagnosis of colitis of the colon, gastritis and internal hemorrhoids.

He said he was recently advised to have a biopsy for a dermatological spot, but he had refused hoping that he would one day be released. He said he had had a benign growth in his leg removed at Silivri State Prison and listed a number of other conditions, including cataracts, hearing loss, excessive dryness in the eyes.

Alpay said he was on anti-depressants, prescribed by the prison psychiatrist, which he said were very helpful.

However, he said he underwent a cardiology examination at Silivri State Hospital, and said he was told to have an angiogram without too much delay following a cardiac stress test. “Only a few months ago, I could easily continue my walks of an hour a day. Now, I can’t do more than 30 minutes. It appears that some negative developments have taken place in my coronary arteries,” he wrote.

“I wasn’t in good health when I entered Silivri, and now after 15 months, it is getting worse.”

He said his applications to the Constitutional Court demanding his release for his health reasons were rejected. He recalled his pending application at the European Court of Human Rights, saying it wasn’t clear when the European Court will rule on his case.

Alpay stated that a recommendation by the Forensic Council of Medicine on whether he is fit to serve time in prison will not emerge before December 8, the next scheduled session in his trial being heard by the Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court.

He finally wrote: “My age is rather advanced. I don’t hope to live for many years given that I have several chronic diseases and that my health is increasingly getting worse. I expect first the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court; if not that court than the Constitutional Court, to make it possible for me to live out the rest of my life with my wife, children and grandchildren by releasing me on bail.”