EPSU has joined with the global and European doctors' organisations - WMA and CPME - in condeming the prison sentences imposed on 11 members of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA) and has written to the European institutions calling for action.
The trial was brought against the members of the TMA Central Council for the publication of a press release entitled ‘War is a public health problem’ in January 2018. This statement highlighted the human, social and environmental cost of war and called for peace. In response, the Turkish authorities brought criminal charges against the Central Council for ‘propagandising for terrorist organisations’. This led to the detention of the 11 doctors until the recent trial.
On 3 May 2019, the 32nd Criminal Court of Ankara sentenced the 11 to 10 months in prison for the press release but this was increased 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 trial is the latest in a series of attacks by the Turkish authorities on the TMA in recent years, along with the trials and prison sentences imposed on other trade unionists representing doctors, nurses and medical staff. EPSU continues to follow these cases, confirming our support for all those defending medical ethics and the provision of healthcare services accessible to all. The outcome of this trial marks a further escalation of the challenge to these fundamental principles.
The joint letter to the European Union from the CPME and WMA can be read here.
At the end of 2018 EPSU joined with the CPME and WMA in condemning the prison sentences imposed on three other leading members of the TMA.