The BMA has today written to the Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, to raise the plight of Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı, President of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA), who has been detained by the Turkish government since 26 October.
Chair of BMA’s representative body Dr Latifa Patel said:
“The arrest of Professor Fincancı, president of our sister Medical Association, on charges of ‘propaganda for a terrorist organisation’ after she publicly called for an independent investigation into the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Turkish military in Northern Iraq during a live TV interview, is a cause of grave concern for the global health community.
“Launching a criminal investigation against her simply because she called for an inquiry into allegations of the use of banned weapons blatantly violates freedom of expression and the Turkish governments’ human rights obligations.
“We work regularly with Professor Fincancı as members of the World Medical Association (WMA). She is an anti-torture expert and qualified physician with long-standing commitments to human rights and the ethical values of our profession. Such deliberate acts of coercion by state authorities against the medical profession in Turkey are an unacceptable threat to its independence and integrity.
“National medical associations, wherever they are in the world, serve a vital role in ensuring the practice of ethical medicine, good quality care and the independent voice of the medical profession. Doctors will not be intimidated by this thuggish behaviour, and today we call on the UK government to raise the matter with its Turkish counterparts and bring pressure to bear for Professor Fincancı’s release.”
Notes to editors
The letter can be read here.
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.