Hacı Bişkin/ DUVAR

The mother of an 8-year-old boy with bone cancer is unable to take her son to Germany to receive treatment due to the fact that she has a travel ban preventing her from leaving Turkey. 

Though Ahmet Burhan Ataç was invited by an immuno oncology center in Germany, he is currently prevented from receiving the treatment as his mother cannot leave the country and his father is in jail, convicted on charges of being a member of what the government calls the ‘Fetullahist Terror Organization’ (FETÖ). 

Followers of the exiled, U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fetullah Gülen have been blamed by the government for the July 2016 coup attempt, and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has engaged in an intense crackdown on the group prior to and following the coup.

Ataç’s mother Zekiye Ataç was also taken into custody, and was subsequently released but with a travel ban. She said that she has taken her son to many hospitals Turkey and has called for her travel ban to be lifted so she can get him the treatment he needs in Germany. 

“My son looks into my eyes and says ‘Mom I want to get better already’. There’s nothing else I can do. I’ve taken him from hospital to hospital. He’s gone through very rough surgery. My son and I are both exhausted,” Ataç said. 

The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, himself a doctor by training who was booted from his job by a government decree, has tried to shed light on the Ataç’s situation, saying that due to travel bans there are many people in Turkey that are being prevented from receiving healthcare services abroad. 

Ataç said she has not told her son about the invitation from the German immuno oncology center, given the fact that she herself is currently unable to go. She said that if it weren’t for the travel ban, she would have been able to leave for Germany with her son in five days.