Eight doctors released after denouncing Turkey’s Afrin operation
Eight top members of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), including its head, were released on Feb. 5 after being detained for denouncing Ankara’s ongoing military operation in Afrin against Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 to support Syrian rebels with ground troops and air strikes against the YPG in Afrin.
Police detained all 11 members of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) central council last week. On Feb. 2, three of the members were released with judicial control orders.
A TTB official said eight members, including TTB head Raşit Tükel, were released under the same conditions on Feb. 5 after giving statements to an Ankara prosecutor.
The TTB had published a statement with the headline “War is a matter of public health,” warning that conflicts lead to “irreparable problems” and ending its declaration with the words: “No to war, peace right now.”
Tükel and 10 other members of the TTB were accused of “treason” by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following the statement.
The association has over 83,000 members, representing 80 percent of Turkey’s doctors.
The authorities also launched an investigation into the TTB last week.
Erdoğan, Bahçeli blast TTB for ‘not serving nation’s interests’
Meanwhile, both Erdoğan and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli harshly criticized the TTB on Feb. 6.
Erdoğan said the word “Turkish” should be removed from the title of the TTB, as well as from the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, in his speech at a parliamentary group meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
“Neither of these associations have anything to do with our struggle to protect our nation. On the contrary, they side with terrorists,” he added.
Bahçeli also slammed the TTB as “the enemy of the Turk.”
“The TTB is a disgrace to the medical profession. Legal action should be taken and the association should be closed down immediately,” he said.