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Jailing of terminally ill Gulen disciple stirs hearts across Turkey's ideological divide 

Ayse Ozdogan, an imprisoned end-stage cancer patient, has been denied release, despite a recommendation by a government-run hospital.
Ayse Ozdogan appears in a screengrab of a YouTube video from Oct. 8, 2021.

A well-known saying of the Prophet Mohammed intones, “Allah has no mercy for him who has no mercy for his fellows.” It appears to be lost on Turkey’s Islamist Justice and Development Party government. The case of Ayse Ozdogan, an end-stage cancer patient, who is serving a nine-year sentence over her links to an anti-government religious sect, is among the starkest examples. Turkey’s Human Rights Association reckons there are over 1,600 seriously ill inmates in Turkey’s notoriously brutal and overpopulated prison system. About 600 are said to be in critical condition. The government won’t free them.

Ozdogan is suffering from a rare form of cancer called maxillary sinus. A portion of her face was removed in a complex operation on Jan. 2, 2020. A steady trickle of blood oozes from her nose and palate. She can barely speak, according to Ozdogan’s lawyer, Tarik Avsar. “Now Ayse Ozdogan is stuck in a cell even an animal wouldn’t live in, over nonsense charges,” Avsar told Al-Monitor.

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