Hacı Bişkin / Duvar

Turkish coronavirus researcher Mustafa Ulaşlı, who was previously sacked with a statutory decree (KHK), is still waiting for the Health Ministry to invite him to conduct works to develop a vaccine for the virus.

Ulaşlı on March 23 said that not a single official person has yet called him to utilize his expertise on potential coronavirus vaccination, and if he were to receive an invitation from the government, he was “ready to do his best.”

Ulaşlı’s comments came after Health Minister Fahrettin Koca earlier during a press conference on March 23 said the ministry wants every kind of information that can be helpful in treating the virus to be shared with them.

Asked by a reporter if he will meet with Ulaşlı, Koca said: “We are sending an open invitation to everyone; we want everyone who have knowledge on [coronavirus] vaccination to share that information with us. We are awaiting for that information, including from the person you have mentioned.”

Following Koca’s remarks, Ulaşlı said that no one from the government had yet contacted him regarding this issue. “Do I have to go and sit in front of the ministry building? If an invitation reaches to me from the Health Ministry, I am ready to do my best. Time should not be lost regarding this issue; whether it be regarding diagnosis or vaccination, I am ready to do my best,” Ulaşlı said.

Ulaşlı also released a statement on his Twitter account on March 23, asking Minister Koca which state institution he should apply to “share his knowledge and experiences.” “I would be happy if the ministry officials notify me of this,” he wrote.

Ulaşlı was a lecturer in University of Gaziantep when he was sacked with a statutory decree on Sept. 1, 2016.

Thousands of public employees were dismissed from their posts with statutory decrees issued during the state of emergency rule declared after the July 15, 2016 attempted takeover, with the government saying that the aim is to rid the institutions of followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.

Prior to returning to Turkey to resume his studies, Ulaşlı had already spent a decade conducting research on the coronavirus, both at Princeton University between 2003 and 2007 and at Groningen University in the Netherlands from 2007 to 2011.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergelioğlu previously said that he talked to Minister Koca over the phone on Ulaşlı’s situation, asking him to be reinstated to his post.

“The minister told me that Ulaşlı will be contacted on Monday [March 23],” Gergerlioğlu told Duvar, adding that Koca sounded positive on the coronavirus researcher’s reinstatement to his post.