Prof. Dr. Korur-Fincancı has given her last lesson before her mandatory retirement. In her lesson “Human Rights and Responsibility of the Physician”, she has said, “Medicine is the epitome of politics because we get involved in life.”

Tansu Pişkin/bianet

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) Chair and Forensic Expert Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur-Fincancı, who has been sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison for having signed the declaration “We will not be a party to this crime” prepared by the Academics for Peace, has mandatorily retired from her duty at the Forensic Medicine Department of İstanbul University.

A ceremony has been held in honor of Şebnem Korur-Fincancı at İstanbul University, where she was elected as the Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine in 1997, was dismissed from her post for several times and could still return by the verdict of a court.

Giving the last lesson of her 41-year-long working life in the ceremony held at the university, Korur-Fincancı has said, “There are new beginnings and hopes in the continuation of every end.”

“On Living” by Nazım Hikmet Ran

In the introduction to her last lesson “Human Rights and the Responsibility of the Physician”, Korur-Fincancı has read out the poem “Yaşamaya Dair” (On Living) by Nazım Hikmet Ran:

“You must take living seriously,

I mean to such an extent that,

for example your arms are tied from your back, your back is on the wall,

or in a laboratory with your white shirt, with your huge eye glasses,

you must be able to die for people,

even for people you have never seen,

although nobody forced you to do this,

although you know that

living is the most real, most beautiful thing.”

“A physician should be the attorney of her patient”

During her lesson, Korur-Fincancı has asked, “Who is a physician, what kind of a person is she?” and answered by quoting Rudolf Virchow, whom she referred to as “one of the names from whom she learnt the profession”:

“Virchow once said, ‘the physicians are the natural attorneys of the poor.’ If a physician cannot be the attorney of her patient, she should also not do this profession. Virchow, again, said that ‘politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale.’ Medicine is the epitome of politics because we get involved in life and, in this way, stand right in the middle of life.

“I promised myself”

“While I was working as an assistant, there were discussions on the torture file of Mustafa Hayrullahoğlu. My great professors were saying that the traces of falanga on his body were caused by ‘jumping’.

“It was on this day that I promised myself: I was going to work on evidence, about which they cannot make such remarks.”

Eren Keskin: “She is a savior for us”

Concluding her statement by extending her thanks to everyone who attended her last lesson, Korur-Fincancı received a standing ovation by her audience.

Taking the floor after Korur-Fincancı, Human Rights Association (İHD) Co-Chair Eren Keskin has also made a statement:

“It is a geography of genocide. Such great human rights violations were committed on this soil that if you say that you are a human, then, it is not possible for you to remain silent in the face of such violations.

“Prof. Şebnem is someone who calls this system into question. Because this state prohibited torture by law, but has always used it as a state policy. Sexual torture is the most frequent method of torture in that regard. And, it is where Şebnem becomes a savior for us.”

Prof. Dr. Gençay Gürsoy has also thanked Korur-Fincancı by saying, “Tough times breed tough people and Şebnem is one of these people, she is perhaps the most tough of all.”

Why mandatory retirement?

Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur-Fincancı, who was put on trial for having signed the declaration entitled “We will not be a party to this crime” prepared by the Academics for Peace with the aim of raising concerns about the rights violations committed during curfews declared in Kurdish provinces, was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison on charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization” on December 19, 2018.

In its related judgement, the İstanbul 37th Heavy Penal Court also ruled that Korur-Fincancı shall be deprived of her certain rights as per the Article 53/1 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

In the event that the court of appeal upholds the sentence of Korur-Fincancı, she cannot even retire. For that reason, Korur-Fincancı retired mandatorily.