Eleven Turkish doctors sentenced to prison: CPME and WMA sent a letter to the EU leadershipComments Off on Eleven Turkish doctors sentenced to prison: CPME and WMA sent a letter to the EU leadership

The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) and the World Medical Association (WMA) sent a joint letter to the leadership of the European Union addressing the outcome of the trial against the Turkish doctors’ leaders, facing prison sentences for defending medical ethics, human rights and peace.

Eleven members of the Turkish Medical Association’s Central Council of 2016-2018 were on trial because of the public statement issued on 24 January 2018 stressing that war is a public health concern that damages the environment and threatens the survival of society at large. In response, the Turkish authorities brought criminal charges against the Central Council for ‘propagandising for terrorist organisations’. This entailed the temporary detention of said doctors and the present trial.

On 3 May 2019, the 32nd Criminal Court of Ankara sentenced the eleven doctors with 10 months in prison for the press release ‘War is a public health problem’, and increased the sentence by an additional 10 months for the publication of another press release entitled ‘It is quite possible to live in peace and equality on this land’ dating from 2016. One doctor was accused of additional charges resulting in a total sentence of 39 months.    

The members of the Turkish Medical Association have denounced violence and expressed their opinion in support of human rights and peace. This is not a criminal offence, on the contrary it is completely in line with the ethics of the medical profession. Therefore, we urge the Turkish authorities to put an immediate end to the charges against the members of the TMA Council, including all acts of harassment and intimidation. We urge the Turkish Government to advocate for the full respect of human rights obligations, including the right to health, freedom of association and expression” said the CPME President, Prof. Dr Frank Ulrich Montgomery.