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Urgent Interventions

Turkey: Release and ongoing judicial harassment of Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp


New information
TUR 010 / 1120 / OBS 135.1
Release /
Judicial harassment
February 12, 2021

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests your intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

New information:

The Observatory has been informed about the release and ongoing judicial harassment of Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp, a physician, member of the High Disciplinary Committee of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB)[1] and a volunteer of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT)[2].

Photo Şeyhmus Gökalp

On February 10, 2021, the Heavy Penal Court of Diyarbakır Number 10 ordered the release of Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp after more than 80 days of pre-trial detention. He is facing charges of “membership of an armed organisation” (Article 314/2 of the Turkish Criminal Code). If found guilty, Dr. Gökalp could face from seven to 15 years of imprisonment.

Dr. Gökalp’s second hearing will take place on June 25, 2021. He is banned to leave the country until this date.

The Observatory recalls that Dr. Gökalp was arrested on November 20, 2020 by the Turkish police within the scope of an investigation conducted by the Prosecutor's Office in Diyarbakır.

On November 23, 2020 the Diyarbakır Second Criminal Court of Peace ordered his pre-trial detention in Diyarbakır prison. The justification of the Court’s decision was the existence of a “strong suspicion of a crime”, in connection with Dr. Gökalp’s alleged provision of healthcare for members of a terrorist organization in a hospital during a period he did not work in those premises, as well as with his alleged participation in a meeting considered illegal by public authorities.

The Observatory condemns the judicial harassment of Dr. Gökalp and recalls that this is not the first time that TTB members and Dr. Gökalp are being targeted because of their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory urges the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp and all human rights defenders in Turkey.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Turkey asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychological well-being of Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp and of all human rights defenders in Turkey;

ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp and all human rights defenders in Turkey, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their activities without hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iii. Refrain from the practice of abusing anti-terrorism legislation for silencing dissent and crackdown on human rights activities.


  • Ambassador Mr. Sadık Arslan, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Email:

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Turkey in your respective country.


Geneva-Paris, February 12, 2021

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

  • Tel OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39
  • Tel FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18

[1] Established in 1953, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) is a chamber of medical doctors in Turkey. The TTB aspires to defend the rights of doctors, represent the profession of medical doctors and protect the ethic codes, contribute to medical education, improve and sensitise about public health in Turkey. The TTB counts around 85.000 members which represents almost 60% of Turkey’s doctors and it is affiliated to the World Medical Association.

[2] Established in 1990, the HRFT is a non governmental and non-profit organisation providing treatment and rehabilitation services for torture survivors and documenting human rights violations in Turkey.

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