Ultra-conservative Turkish daily Yeni Akit has launched a campaign calling for the arrest of Prof. Mehmet Ceyhan, head of Turkey's Infectious Diseases Association who has often been quoted by domestic media since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yeni Akit claimed that Ceyhan had presented himself as an official member of the state Science Committee, which they said was misleading.
In fact, in reality, it was a columnist who falsely portrayed Ceyhan as a committee member, which the physician had previously publicly corrected.
"I am not and have never been a member of the Science Committee," Ceyhan had said in a tweet on Nov. 28, 2020.
Sayın #can_atakli_ Gazetede benim de adımı listeye koyarak istifa etmeli dediğiniz Coronavirus Bilim Kurulu’nun üyesi değilim ve hiç olmadım. Düzeltmeniz ricasıyla, saygılar sunarım— Dr Mehmet Ceyhan (@mehmetceyhan23) November 28, 2020
Yeni Akit also slammed the physician for changing course on his recommendations about the use of face masks, a recalibrating conducted by all scientists worldwide, as the World Health Organization (WHO) changed their official take on the matter.
"Citizens no longer have tolerance for Prof. Mehmet Ceyhan who constantly conflicts himself and confuses the public," Yeni Akit wrote on May 7.
Following the daily's targeting of the renowned doctor, a social media campaign with the words "arrest Mehmet Ceyhan" quickly spread on Twitter.
Ceyhan was also vocal about the Health Ministry's lack of transparency during the pandemic, and urged for actual case numbers to be revealed by the state.