Kommittén för mänskliga rättigheter uppmanar Turkiet att stoppa rättsliga trakasserier mot ledare för turkiska läkarförbundet

Akademiernas kommitté för mänskliga rättigheter uppmanar Turkiets president, justitieminister och hälsominister att sätta stopp för de pågående rättsliga trakasserierna mot medlemmar i det turkiska läkarförbundets ledning.

Kommittén är djupt oroad över beslutet som fattades den 20 november 2023, att avskeda 11 ledamöter i det turkiska läkarförbundets ledning. Beslutet måste betraktas som godtyckligt och utgör ännu ett fall av rättsliga trakasserier mot de internationellt respekterade ledarna för Turkiets största medicinska organisation.

Brevet i sin helhet:

Stockholm 20 March 2024

Your Excellency,

We, the Human Rights Committee of Sweden’s Scientific and Literary Academies, write respectfully to express our deep concern about the decision of the Ankara 31st Civil Court of First Instance, rendered on 20 November 2023, to dismiss the 11 Central Council members of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA) from their elected positions. The decision must be regarded as arbitrary and constitutes yet another instance of judicial harassment against the internationally respected leaders of Türkiye’s largest medical organization.

It is our understanding that, in late October 2022, Turkish authorities sought the TMA leaders’ dismissal based on vague and spurious terrorism-related allegations.  The authorities claimed that the TMA engaged in activities outside of the organization’s founding purpose. The Central Council members are President Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Second President Ali İhsan Ökten, General Secretary Vedat Bulut, Nursel Şahin, Onur Naci Karahancı, Kazım Doğan Eroğulları, Alican Bahadır, Ahmet Karer Yurtdaş, Adalet Çıbık, Aydın Şirin, and Lütfi Tiyekli.

Reliable sources have highlighted a number of procedural irregularities during the court proceedings against the TMA leaders. The Court did not allow all of the Central Council members to speak in their own defence. All of the numerous procedural objections submitted by the defence were rejected without justification. A request made for the replacement of the judge, due to concerns about his impartiality and independence, was rejected as well.

The TMA is internationally respected for its unwavering commitment to the provision of quality medical care, medical ethics, and for defending the right to health for all Turkish people. We are deeply concerned that the November 30 2023 decision to dismiss the TMA leadership is part of a longtime pattern of governmental harassment and intimidation against TMA members for upholding the highest standards of the medical profession. Moreover, we understand that the government is pursuing legislation that would undermine the autonomy of the TMA, a matter that could have serious negative repercussions for the provision of quality healthcare in your country.

In light of the information above, we respectfully urge you to use your good offices to bring an end to any ongoing legal harassment against the members of the TMA Central Council for their lawful and ethical activities in service to the Turkish people. We also ask for your assistance in ensuring that they are granted a fair appeal hearing with full respect to their right to a peaceful exercise of their fundamental human rights. In addition, we plead for your good services in safeguarding the dismissed TMA members’ right to be reinstated to their Council positions.

We thank you, Your Excellency, for your attention to this important matter.

Respectfully yours,

Dan Larhammar
Professor, Acting Chairperson of the Human Rights Committee of Sweden’s Scientific and Literary Academies

Akademiernas kommitté för mänskliga rättigheter består av representanter från Kungl. Vetenskapsakademien, Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, Svenska Akademien och Sveriges unga akademi.