On the 24 January 2018, following the Turkish military incursion into Syria, the Turkish Medical Association (TMA) issued a statement stating, not unreasonably, that war was a threat to public health.
Immediately afterwards President Erdogan denounced the TMA, calling them ‘terrorist lovers’.
The TMA is an internationally respected medical association and an affiliate member of the World Medical Association. Subsequently the Turkish authorities have arrested all eleven members of the TMA’s Council.
This harassment is part of a wider crackdown on civil society and political opposition in Turkey, including the systematic targeting of medical professionals.
The rule of law is deteriorating in Turkey, and the government is failing in its obligations to ensure the rights of freedom and participation for groups like the TMA.
Dr Serdar Kuni, a member of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey was convicted in 2017 for treating alleged members of Kurdish armed groups. Dr Sebnem Korur Fincanci was charged with disseminating ‘terrorist propaganda’ after guest-editing a newspaper critical of the government.
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