Followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen sabotaged the health of pilots in the army by giving them unnecessary heart pills, according to a prosecutor’s indictment regarding Gülenist activities at the Gülhane Military Hospital (GATA).
The indictment included the testimonies of pilots who said they were prescribed high blood pressure medication by military doctor members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), even though they did not suffer from health issues.
According to the indictment prepared by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office that includes 104 suspects, the doctors carried out these measures in an attempt to eliminate and replace pilots who were not part of the Gülen movement, which is widely believed to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
One pilot, identified only as Gürhan T., said he was given a high blood pressure medicine but did not use it after realizing that it could dangerously enlarge his heart veins.
“Doctor Şevket Balta told me to use a medicine for two months and come back for check-ups. I bought the medicine but when I read the prospectus I saw that it was for high blood pressure so I never used it,” said Gürhan T, whose testimony was taken as a victim.
Another pilot, identified only as Uğur K., also gave Balta’s name and said his flights were prevented due to the doctor’s “high blood pressure” diagnosis.
“After I was given a two-month rest, my flights were canceled due to the same diagnosis,” he said, adding that he had to leave the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in February 2016 due to the “injustices he suffered from.”
According to the indictment, cardiology doctor Balta applied the same procedure in order to eliminate individuals who were not members of FETÖ.
An F-16 pilot, identified only as Aylin K., said that even though she wasn’t suffering from any heart problems she was prevented from flying in 2014.
She said she obtained several clean bills of health from different hospitals but Balta rejected them and sent her to GATA to get a permanent report, according to the indictment.
Balta reportedly asked her to see doctors Sait Demirkol and Murat Ünlü, but she refused to do so and therefore obtained a clean bill of health.
Sedat Y., another victim, said Balta caused almost 500 pilots to leave the army, while military school student Kadir D. said a total of 76 students had received “not suitable for the army” reports during his term.