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.
Professor Kayıhan Pala gives statement over Covid-19 remarks
Pala says scientific analysis he offered was not related to his work at the university and asks rectorate to send his case file to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office
Kayıhan Pala, a professor of public health at the Uludağ University in Bursa and a member of the Covid-19 monitoring board under the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), is facing an investigation over his remarks in an interview with the local news site enBursa.com in April.
The investigation was launched upon a complaint by the Bursa Governor’s Office on the allegation of “abuse of duty.” Examining the governorship’s claims that Pala had “misinformed the public” and “given statements that induced panic,” the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction and sent the case file to Uludağ University on the claim that “an abuse of duty” had been committed. The university launched an investigation against Pala.
Pala gave his statement concerning the “abuse of duty” investigation on 21 July 2020. During his questioning that took place at the University’s Rectorate, Pala was accompanied by TTB members and lawyers from the Bursa Chamber of Medicine. Objecting to the investigation in terms of procedure, Pala noted that his remarks were within the context of freedom of science and was not related to his work at the university. Pala asked the rectorate to send the case to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for lack of jurisdiction.
In the interview for which he is accused, Pala had said that he believed the pandemic had not reached its peak in Turkey by then: “About two or three weeks ago I estimated that the peak would be experienced between 20-27 April and that the number of Covid-19 cases would drop afterwards and dwindle by the second half of June. The truth of this prediction will be illustrated for all to judge this week.”