BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Turkish cancer patient with months to live denied passport to get treatment abroad

 Comments
Turkish cancer patient with months to live denied passport to get treatment abroad
Text size Aa Aa

A professor with terminal cancer says Turkish authorities have cancelled his passport, stopping him from going abroad for alternative treatment.

Haluk Savaş, who doctors say has just months to live, told Euronews he was being denied a basic human right.

Dr Savaş, one of the most experienced psychiatry professors in Turkey, lost his job at a university in a government crackdown following the failed coup in 2016.

"If they don’t give me the opportunity to be treated abroad, I will die here in Turkey. Everyone will witness my death and everyone will know who persecuted me," Savaş told Euronews.

He wants to travel abroad to receive immunotherapy that would help the body’s immune system to fight cancer.

Without treatment, Dr Savaş says his days are numbered.

After being fired three years ago, Dr Savaş was subsequently imprisoned on charges of being a member of a terrorist organisation.

Savaş has received hundreds of citations in his publications and is known around the world.

He was working as a professor at the university until 2016 when he was expelled by government decree. Many public servants were dismissed by the Turkish government in the aftermath of the July 2016 coup.

He was subsequently imprisoned on charges of being a member of a terrorist organisation, but he was later acquitted of those charges, and the travel ban on him was lifted.

Yet he has still been denied a passport.

His plight, however, is gaining traction. After sharing his situation on social media, he received the support of tens of thousands who spread a “PasaportForHalukSavaş” [PassportforHalukSavaş] hashtag.

He said that the only solution the government proposed to obtain his passport will take several years, but he has only 8 months left to live.

In an interview with Euronews, the professor said: “This is my basic human right. If the Turkish state and government are not giving me my basic right as a human, that means the state is not practising basic international law, humanitarian and moral values.”

“This is a catastrophic result for everyone in Turkey. It has essentially turned the country into an open prison.”

Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency said that the documents for Savaş were sent from the Governorship of Adana to the Ministry of Interior.

A communications official at the Turkish Interior Minister said the department does not deal with passport issues. The Turkish government has not yet responded to a request for comment.