Mr President Erdoğan,

 Stop the Harassment of Turkish Physicians

The Norwegian Medical Association is worried about  the prison sentences handed down to several leading Turkish physicians.

Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci, the Chair of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and former member of Istanbul Chamber of Medicine Honorary Committee, was sentenced this week to two years six months imprisonment. And last week Dr. Ozdemir Aktan, a former president of the Turkish Medical Association, was sentenced to one year and three months imprisonment, while a court in Istanbul ruled that the prison sentence of two years and three months handed down to Dr. Gençay Gürsoy, a former president of the TMA and one of the founders of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, would be upheld.

Former members of TMA’s boards, including Dr. Feride Aksu Tanik, a former Secretary General of TMA and official advisor to WMA, are facing trial or sentences on the same charges of supporting terrorism. Many of them have lost their jobs, had their passports cancelled and will never be able to work in public institutions.

These physicians, along with many other physiciansand health care workers, are being punished for supporting a petition calling on the Turkish government to stop the violence against civilians.

Drs Fincanci, Aktan and  Gürsoy  have done nothing else than expressing their opinion in support of human rights and peace. Calling for peace constitutes an expression of opinion, certainly not a criminal offence. Sentencing physicians for using their human rights to speak out for peace is an infringement of the freedom of opinion and expression as stated in the United NationsUniversal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and in thethe International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Turkey ratified in 2003.

We urge Turkish authorities to stop the harassment of  the sentenced physicians and physicians facing trial immediately.

Yours sincerely

The Norwegian Medical Association

Marit Hermansen, President                                                                                                             Bjarne Riis Strøm, Acting Secretary General