Former Health Director denies uninformed medical testing on Covid patients in Diyarbakır during pandemic

Former Provincial Health Director of Diyarbakır Cihan Tekin has denied claims that the “TurkishBeam” technology was applied to Covid patients without proper informed consent during the pandemic. Allegations hold that some patients died after they were administered the unscientific treatment.

Medical staff pose with the TurkishBeam machinery after adminitrating treatment, as per reporting by the AA.

Ferhat Yaşar / Gazete Duvar

The Diyarbakır Bar Association on July 9 filed a criminal complaint regarding the allegations brought up by Prof. Dr. Cenap Ekinci, a faculty member at Diyarbakır’s Dicle Medical School. 

Ekinci alleged that the "TurkishBeam" method that claims to kill the Coronavirus in patients’ bloodstreams using ultraviolet (UV-C) beams was used on uninformed patients without having undergone any scientific testing.

The technology gained attention during the coronavirus pandemic, with the state-run Anadolu News Agency (AA) reporting on the method’s success in removing the virus from a patient’s system. 

Following this allegation, the Diyarbakır Medical Chamber called for a statement from the Health Ministry.

In a recent social media post on X, Prof. Dr. Ekinci shared these claims, "Five healthcare professionals and two civilians, led by a well-known pulmonologist from a private hospital, landed at Diyarbakır Airport with a private plane. This team headed directly to Diyarbakır Gazi Yaşargil Training and Research Hospital. They were welcomed by Provincial Health Director C.T and Chief Physician E.B.. The team's goal was to sell a device to the ministry that could treat the COVID-19 virus in the blood without medication."

Ekinci continued that the Ministry did not want to purchase this device as it had not been tested or undergone any phase trials globally. However, team leader M.S. was eager to test and report on the device as soon as possible, and he was also a relative of the Turkish health minister. 

“No hospital wanted to test this method on patients. However, the chief physician of Diyarbakır Gazi Yaşargil Training and Research Hospital agreed to test it on his patients. These experiments were conducted for three days without informing the patients or their families," wrote Ekinci.

Following the experiments, the team wanted to promote the success of the so-called ‘TurkishBeam’ treatment and made a press statement in front of live broadcast cameras outside the hospital, which the ministry allowed. 

The medical team presents the success of the TurkishBeam in treating COVID-19 in June 2020. 

Ekinci noted that some patients allegedly treated with the TurkishBeam have died. 

He questioned the extent of the medical trials conducted on unsuspecting patients. “The Ministry did not purchase or use this device. How many citizens in Diyarbakır had their treatment interrupted and were used as guinea pigs? Who is responsible? Who owns the private plane? Why was Diyarbakır chosen? Why were people used as guinea pigs? What role did the minister's relative play in this?"

In response, the Diyarbakır Medical Chamber said they had objected to the TurkishBeam method along with other health professional organizations when it was implemented, taking the allegations seriously. They called for judicial and administrative investigations and asked the Ministry several questions regarding their involvement in or knowledge of the events described by Ekinci. 

The Bar Association stated that it would follow up on the allegations and the legal process.

Cihan Tekin, the Diyarbakır Provincial Health Director at the time, refuted the testing claims to Gazete Duvar and stated that the treatment was tested in a total of six hospitals with the Health Ministry's permission.

Denying the allegations, Tekin said, "There are official documents and records for everything. There are also patient ratios. It's nothing but slander. Diyarbakır is a very modern city. Could such a thing be done without the Ministry's permission? Is this reasonable? Who would sign off on such a thing?"

Responding to our question about whether similar experiments were conducted in other provinces, Tekin said he could not recall the number of provinces but noted, "This project was implemented in six hospitals in different provinces with the Ministry's permission." Tekin stated that the method was applied to only four people in Diyarbakır with their consent. 

According to the director, footage showed patients treated with the method leaving the hospital with applause, which proved that they gave their consent for the treatment.

He continued, “It wasn't applied to thousands of people. All details, information, and documents are with the Diyarbakır Provincial Health Directorate. These claims are nothing but an attempt to gain popularity, be in the spotlight, or stay relevant. The Ministry has an official letter authorizing this application. There's nothing more to say."

(English version by Ayşenaz Toptaş)