Detained Turkish Medical Association head defends anti-war statement
Three members of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), who were among the 11 people detained by police on Jan. 30 over the organization’s criticism of Turkey’s ongoing military operation into the Afrin region of Syria, have been released on probation.
Sinan Adıyaman, Şeyhmus Gökalp and Ayfer Horasan who remained in custody for three days were released on Feb. 2.
The head of the TTB, who was still detained as of Jan. 30 over his remarks, defended himself in a statement through his lawyer on Feb. 1.
“We acted as we always do as doctors. We have focused on human life and health. We will continue to act as doctors in every setting we are in. We do not accept the charges,” TTB head Raşit Tükel’s lawyer Ziynet Özçelik cited her client as saying.
Tükel and 10 other members of the TTB were accused of “treason” by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following their statement, which was published under the headline “War is a Matter of Public Health,” soon after Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” in Syria started on Jan. 20.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for the council members and the Health Ministry filed a lawsuit to remove them from their posts.
Thirty-five medical chambers in Turkey published a statement via daily Hürriyet on Feb. 2 calling for the release of all 11 TTB members.
Meanwhile, police in Ankara detained at least 13 people who voiced support for the TTB’s statement on social media on Feb. 2.