According to the statement of Leyla Gülüşken on 26 April, her father got sick nearly two weeks ago and the family called a hospital. Leyla Gülüşken says that the doctor came their home and after examination, her father was hospitalized and tested positive for the COVID-19. Then, he was discharged. Then they called the hospital again when her father got worse. However, the hospital didn’t accept him since there is no treatment for the disease.
This does not contradict the general strategy of Sweden. If the symptoms of the disease get worse in the country, the test can be applied, and the patient is discharged or hospitalized depending on the patient’s health status. It is not possible to reach objective information about the general health of Emrullah Gülüşken at that time due to the principle of patient privacy.
Health authorities in Sweden prepared an informative note, which is available in Turkish. Its title is “If you are sick, stay home”. This text answers the question when and where you should apply for treatment?
“Most of those who get the Covid-19 do not need to apply for treatment because the symptoms disappear. Call 1177 if it gets worse or you have respiratory complaints even while resting. Then a nurse will help you get the right treatment in the right place. If you have a risk of death, you will always call 112.”
After that, the Consulate General of Sweden published a statement on 26 April.
“Everyone in Sweden has the right to benefit from health services equally.
Anyone seeking medical care in Sweden due to the symptoms of COVID-19 is getting a medical evaluation at the hospital or other healthcare providers. The vast majority of people with the COVID-19 do not need to be hospitalized; some people are treated at home to prevent the virus from spreading in hospitals as much as possible. This treatment is provided to those who need treatment in the hospital, and those who are seriously ill are taken under intensive care.
According to Swedish law, everyone is equal in accessing health and medical care services in Sweden, and care is provided in line with needs. Conditions such as gender, age, where the person lives, functional capacity, education, social position, ethnic or religious group membership, or sexual orientation do not affect equal access. Everyone has the right to access the same health and medical care services.”
Sweden press also reported the issue about Emrullah Gülüşken. Newspaper Aftonbladet talked to Jimmy Gottfridsson, the press agent of local government in Skåne region, where the hospital claimed not to have accepted Gülüşken. While Gottfridsson stated that he could not provide information due to the principle of patient privacy, he stated that they followed a certain routine in the decisions to be taken for Covid-19 treatment and that most cases have not been treated in hospitals. Uğur Koçbaş, the editor of the program “Atilla Güner’le Akşam Postası” (Evening Post with Atilla Güner) broadcast in RS FM, also reached Gottfridsson. According to the news of Sputnik Turkey, Gottfridsson made a similar statement about the medical process about COVID-19 patients.
Claims about Emrullah Gülüşken spread on social media are as follows:
According to the claims shared on social media and some news websites, Swedish authorities filed a lawsuit for the annulment and deportation of Emrullah Gülüşken and their daughters, Samira and Leyla, on grounds that they were defaming with a groundless organization.
The claim is false. There is no statement or a lawsuit filed by the Swedish Migration Agency Migrationsverket. Paul T. Levin, the director of Stockholm University Turkish Studies Center, stated that he didn’t find any supporting evidence for these claims.
Emrullah Gülüşken’s daughter Leyla also said in the broadcast on AHaber, “There are rumors that Sweden has filed a lawsuit against us. This is absolutely wrong. If this was the case, we would know it.” Atila Altuntaş, the reporter of Anadolu Agency (AA) in Sweden also denied the claims.
Uğur Koçbaş, the editor of the program “Atilla Güner’le Akşam Postası” broadcast in RS FM asked Jimmy Gottfridsson, the press agent of local government in Skåne region. He refuted the claims and stated, “Such a thing has never happened in Sweden before. There is also no such crime in Swedish law.” In Sweden, there is no crime and sanction for the “defamation” of the country.
According to AA reporter Altuntaş, Emrullah Gülüşken has a long-term residence permit while her children are Swedish citizens. In other words, they have different statuses before the state. But they have equal rights about access to health services.
Also, it was claimed that Leyla Gülüşken said, “My father did not want to stay at the hospital.” However, it is impossible to find any similar statement of her in her posts or statements in the press.
Considering the photo of Emrullah Gülüşken with an Audi brand car, they claimed that it belongs to him on social media and ekşisözlük. You can see Gülüşken’s photo taken near the car with KWC567 plate on his Facebook profile.
However, the car is not registered to Emrullah Gülüşken. The car in the photo is not registered to any other family member.
Due to the transparency laws in Sweden, the address, date of birth, number of pets, vehicles, and companies owned by everyone living in the country – if it is not protected for some reason – can be accessed online. This information can only be accessed when the relevant pages are accessed in Sweden.
Ratsit.se is a page used to query this information. We can find Emrullah Gülüşken on the page. We see that Emrullah Gülüşken and Samira Gülüşken have no vehicle, pet, or company. According to the page, Leyla Gülüşken lives in another town and has a car, which is Volkswagen Passat.
Although we cannot see the name of the current owner of the vehicle with the KWC567 license plate Audi Q7, it is possible to reach some information about the vehicle. The vehicle was scrapped in 2015. It has not been used since July 2015.
Anyone who lives in the country and has an identification number can query the annual income of any person at Ratsit.se for a certain fee. We cannot share the results of our query here. However, it can be said that Emrullah Gülüşken is not a “millionaire” as claimed.
Another post on social media has claimed that his photo taken at the hospital in Turkey shows that he is in good health.
However, the photo, which can be seen on Gülüşken’s Facebook profile, dated April 2014. Considering another post by Gülüşken on the same day, the photo may have been taken at Lund University Hospital in Sweden.
It was also claimed that Emrullah Gülüşken is a relative of Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca on social media.
However, there is nothing supporting this claim.
Fahrettin Koca was born in the Ömeranlı neighborhood of the Kulu district of Konya. The starting point of kinship claims may be the density of the population from Kulu in the Turkish diaspora in Sweden. The number of citizens coming from Kulu to Sweden is so high that Sweden even has an honorary consulate in Kulu.
It was also claimed that Gülüşken was the relative of Abdullah Ağralı, the 25th, 26th and 27th term Konya Deputy from Justice and Development Party (AKP). While Ağralı denied the claims, he also shared images of the province and district where Gülüşken was registered. According to the records, Emrullah Gülüşken is from Gerçüş district of Batman. There is a statement made by Ağralı about this issue.
However, the claim is not true. There is a ministry in Sweden called the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs (Socialdepartementet). Among the statements made by the Ministry, there is nothing about Gülüşken. No statements by the Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Lena Hallengren, are available either on the government’s page or social media.
Since the day when Gülüşken was transferred to Turkey, there is only one announcement of the ministry. It’s an update on Sweden’s strategy to fight antibiotic resistance on April 27. On the page about Minister Hallengren, there is a speech text published on April 29. The text is about the country’s strategy about the epidemic.
Another claim is that a Swedish minister said, “The patient left the hospital voluntarily.”
The claim is not true. The minister who said it is not certain in the claim. However, if such an explanation is true, it is expected to be made by a minister associated with health policies. On the other hand, as mentioned above, the Swedish Minister of Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren has no statement on this issue. It seems impossible due to the strict principle of patient privacy.
Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde answered the question of AA reporter about Emrullah Gülüşken, saying, “Sweden’s healthcare system is extremely safe and saves thousands of lives.” In the statement, there is nothing about Gülüşken.
Emrullah Gülüşken was also claimed to be a member of the AK Party on social media. Her daughter Leyla Gülüşken stated that this claim was not true. There is no open source to question if he is a member of a political party.
The claims about his membership of AKP is based on posts on Gülüşken’s Facebook account. The claims highlighted his posts supporting Erdogan in 2014. However, it does not necessarily mean “his being a party member”.
There is another point that can be related to this issue. The UID (Union of International Democrats) of Sweden was active in this process, as it is understood from the post made by the Stockholm Embassy of Turkey. UID also shared a post highlighting its role in the process.
It is known that the UID has close ties with the AK Party in Turkey. However, it is very hard to understand the connection between Gülüşken and the organization or its effect on AK Party staff.
On the statement by the Embassy, the UID of Sweden also made a statement, saying, “Our UID Representative in Malmö accompanied the patient and family in another vehicle on their way to the airport. The reason why our Stockholm Embassy thanked the UID on their social media accounts is only this help.”
Another unclarified point is the possible price of the transfer from Sweden to Turkey. Before deciding to send an ambulance plane on April 23, Samira Gülüşken shared a post saying that she learned from the embassy that the transfer of her father to Turkey costs 26,000 dollars. The absence of a protocol on the transfer of patients between Sweden and Turkey have been given as a reason for this price.
It should be noted that different questions stand out in the Turkish diaspora in the country. Such an issue during the pandemic period undermines the confidence the diaspora has in the health policies pursued by Sweden. The treatment policy in Sweden, whose epidemic management strategy has already been discussed, is more questionable after the case of Gülüşken. There is currently no clear answer to questions such as whether this questioning has an objective basis, Gülüşken’s condition is really critical, or Swedish officials ignored a vital situation.
Although the Minister of Health Koca said, “Turkey is a country providing ambulance aircraft paid by the state” to expect a country to offer consistently ambulance aircraft service to any state citizen may not be very realistic in the pandemic conditions. Gülüşken family may have been exempted from this expense in some way. What about those who are left behind?
Another issue is that the great place given for Gülüşken case with the involvement of high-level politicians in the media and the adverse reaction that developed accordingly among the Swedes. In the general elections held in Sweden in September 2018, the party named Swedish Democrats, which could be defined as extreme nationalists received 17.5 percent of the vote. If there is a crisis that impacts the whole country, the news or posts about this kind of transfer of a Turkish citizen can fuel tensions between immigrant groups with the Swedes.
All these developments also make us think about the potential problems that may be posed in the post-crisis period by prioritizing traditional power policies rather than diplomacy and cooperation between countries in times of crisis.
According to the announcement of the Minister of Health Fahrettin Koca on April 29, the treatment of Emrullah Gülüşken continues in Ankara Şehir Hospital. For two days after his transfer to Turkey, he stayed in intensive care. Minister Koca stated the reason for his transfer, “Although there is not serious respiratory distress, it has been said that he has a heart condition.” After the tests, he ended up having heart valve problems but Koca said that it didn’t pose a serious problem.
Anadolu Agency, Ambulance aircraft for Gülüşken who tested positive for COVID-19 but did not get treatment in Sweden, 26 April 2020
Anadolu Ajansı, Turkish patient in Sweden was transferred to Turkey by ambulance aircraft, 26 April 2020
1177 Vårdguiden, If you are sick, stay home, 25 March 2020
Istanbul General Consulate of Sweden, Everybody in Sweden has the equal right to benefit from the health services, 26 April 2020
Aftonbladet, Fick inte vård i Sverige – flögs med ambulansplan till Turkiet, 26 April 2020
Sputnik Türkiye, What did the hospital in Sweden about Emrullah Gülüşken?, 29 April 2020
Paul T. Levin, Tweet on 29 April 2020
AHaber, Tweet on 8 April 2020
Atila Altuntaş, Facebook post on 9 April 2020
The Swedish Citizenship Act, March 2001
Freedom House, Sweden
Migrationsverket, Losing or retaining Swedish citizenship
Ratsit.se, Emrullah Gülüşken
Ratsit.se, Samira Gülüşken
Ratsit.se, Leyla Gülüşken
Biluppgifter, Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDi
Biluppgifter, KWC567 plakalı AUDI Q7
Ratsit.se, Lönekollen - För privatpersoner och företag
SVT Nyheter, Var är du på inkomstskalan?
Facebook, Photo on Emrullah Gülüşken’s profile, 2 April 2014
Facebook, Check-in on Emrullah Gülüşken’s profile, 2 April 2014
Haberler.com, Minister Koca was asked: Is the patient coming from Sweden his relative?, 29 April 2020
HaberTurk, Who is Fahrettin Koca?, 6 April 2020
HaberTürk, 2018 Presidency Elections- Sweden
Consultation For Kingdom of Sweden, Sweden Kulu Honorary Consulate
TBMM, Abdullah Ağralı
Abdullah Ağralı, Tweet on 7 April
İsveç Gündemi, Ağralı: ''The patient transferred from Sweden is not from Kulu” 27 April 2020
Government Offices of Sweden, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs
Government Offices of Sweden, Lena Hallengren
Government Offices of Sweden, Updated Swedish strategy to combat antibiotic resistance
Government Offices of Sweden, Speech by Minister for Health and Social Affairs Lena Hallengren at WHO briefing 23 april
UID İsveç, Explanation about the statement by the Embassy, 30 April 2020
Val.se, Valresultat 2018
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