Journalist Tuncer Çetinkaya spoke to the German newspaper Die Welt: “I was humiliated in prison, tortured. There were only two things that kept me alive: my faith and my family… ”
He worked as a journalist in Istanbul for many years. and lastly were the director of Anadolu Agency in Antalya, Tuncer Çetinkaya, gave an interview to Welt, one of the biggest broadcasting organizations in Germany.
“I underwent the operation with the soldiers, my family wasn’t informed”
From Çetinkaya’s perspective after the events of July 15 according to Die Welt’s story begins with the following statements: Following the military coup in July 2016, more than 300 members of the press were among those victims, most of whom were the victims of cleaning waves without adequate investigations.
The Interview that he gave Die Welt;
Tuncer Cetinkaya, along with other victims was tortured in Turkey sued Turkish state in Karlsruhe German Federal Prosecutor’s Office. Crimes committed against humanity, such as torture, under universal jurisdiction, may be the subject of jurisdiction, even if not committed in Germany. Cetinkaya, British record holder football champion Manchester United’s logo dressed in dark fleece. He’s got a picture of him sitting in a prison bed. His hair was short, he lost more than 30 pounds in prison. Today his combed backwards hair ,went white, looks thicker. It is hard to believe that Çetinkaya, sitting in the empty kitchen in West Germany, is the man in the photograph.
List was published while jets were still on board
Çetinkaya had been working as a journalist for 26 years when he was arrested. For a long time, he worked for Zaman, the most circulating newspaper in the country. When the alliance between Erdogan and the Movement ended, the newspaper came to the fore with its dissident publications. In 2016, a trustee was appointed to the newspaper. On the night of the coup, Cetinkaya wrote “Damn the coup d’état”. During the February 28 process, he had criticized the coup in a book. He does not accept the military coup as a legitimate way of overthrowing governments. However, while the jets are still in the air in Istanbul and Ankara, they see their name on a tagging list released from a Twitter account which was close to the government. “List of journalists to be arrested” he wrote.… On June 23, Çetinkaya was arrested.
The first days in prison are among the worst. This is what Çetinkaya describes; like so many other inmates. In a report, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture mentions cases of “foot-whipping, beatings, threats and rape with various objects inde in Turkish prisons.” Especially in the first few days after the coup, the police used these methods in temporary centers. In a short time, Çetinkaya was being transferred to prisons in three different cities. Aksaray, Nevsehir and Antalya. He wasn’t allowed to be visited by his family and his lawyer. It is not known which crimes were held against him.
Even sitting somewhere was impossible
We were in a 5-square-meter cell with 20 people. We couldn’t even sit down, he remembers. “They took some inmates one by one, blindfolded them, took them to the roof of the building and threatened to throw them down.” Officers were torturing them to take statements and to confess to other opponents. This method is applied all over the country. Numerous human rights organizations report to the UN and Die Welt reports how torture was carried out systematically after the coup. Çetinkaya was quiet. He states that he is a journalist and cannot legally investigate who was carrying out the coup.
Price of being an opponent
Abdullah Bozkurt is an old colleague of Tuncer Çetinkaya. Bozkurt who is in exile in Sweden and during a meeting with Die Welt, he says: “Tuncer is an important journalist. He never hesitated to criticize the powerful and the government, and he never stepped back from bringing it to the judiciary if he found documents of their illegal affairs. He pays for being an opponent. ” Cetinkaya had high blood pressure and kidney disease when he went to prison. No medication was given at first. Then he was able to take his medication irregularly. The guards often gave him drugs that he did not know what had happened. Her health was getting worse every day. His kidney has lost its function. The doctor’s reports from the Die Welt newspaper show this.
He thought he was going to die in prison
Prison authorities ignored her pain. All those years he believed in the country, the state of law, the Republic. Yet he understands; none of them has any value. The journalist thought he might die in prison for the first time. Cetinkaya, “the worst was psychological torture,” he says. Isolation, insults and threats. Feeling of being forgotten. Even today, Çetinkaya suffers from their consequences. He is receiving psychiatric treatment in Germany, feeling anxious and depressed. A doctor in our report points to torture in prison.
How will you bring his health back?
The journalist lives apart from his family and expects to bring his wife and children to Germany as part of a family reunion. They are out of Turkey for security reasons. Çetinkaya’s family is concerned about their freedom in their homeland. After imprisonment, her daughter Rahime Gul wrote an emotional letter to international media outlets: A call for help. “My father is innocent and will be proved in court. But how will you bring my father’s health back? He should not stay in prison any longer..
If foam comes out..
When Çetinkaya had hernia in prison, he waited for help for days. He was not allowed to see a doctor. A guardian once mocked “If the foam comes out of your mouth, we’ll take it to the doctor, wave to the camera”. Then one day he was suddenly taken to the hospital. Without any information… The family does not have any information about the operation. The handcuffs were removed only on the operating table just to let doctors and nurses to make their jobs more comfortable … Soldiers accompanied the operating room. When he woke up, he was wearing a bloody surgical gown. Then he found himself on the floor of a hospital’s extremely cold room reserved for prisoners. He couldn’t move. He had to go crawling to the toilet.
“They left me to die”
Cetinkaya does not believe that the operation was performed to help him. He thinks the surgery was done to weaken him. They didn’t want to kill me, they left me to die, he adds. This would not be the first death in prison. A report from the Journalists and Writers Foundation reports 61 suspected deaths in Turkish prisons after 2016. He doesn’t know why he was released at the end of 2018. So far, the court has not been concluded. But he predicts he can be re-arrested at any time. He doesn’t believe he’il get out of prison if he does. So he decides to escape. He doesn’t want to give details about it. At that time, Turkish media reported that he was dead. In February 2019, they report that he is here, even though he is not in Germany
“One day justice will be brought”
News scares Çetinkaya. He knows that President Erdoğan has fanatical supporters in Germany and that they are targeting opponents. As previously Die Welt wrote, the Turkish Intelligence brought at least 31 dissidents living abroad back to Turkey after the coup with the operation. For this reason, Çetinkaya, along with the Human Rights Defenders Association and four tortured persons, filed a lawsuit against the Turkish government at the Federal Prosecutor’s Office within the framework of torture and crimes against humanity. Çetinkaya says ” I live with hope” and adds: “One day justice will be brought”.