The World Medical Association (WMA), the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) and Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) have condemned the sentencing of leaders of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA) to prison terms of at least 20 months after speaking out about the impact of war.
Members of the TMA central council for the term 2016-2019 appeared before the 32nd High Criminal Court in Ankara last week after they had highlighted the health consequences of the conflict, including issuing a statement in 2018 entitled “war is a public health problem”.
In a joint statement, the CPME and WMA condemned the outcome of the trial. “Denouncing violence and supporting human rights and peace is not a criminal offence. We very much regret the outcome of the trial and we stand by the leaders of the Turkish Medical Association in their efforts to respect the ethics of the medical profession,” said CPME President, Prof Dr Frank Ulrich Montgomery.
PHR called on Turkish authorities to overturn the “egregious decision". It added: “The Turkish government has a responsibility to ensure the protection of internationally recognised freedoms and rights, as ratified by Turkey."
The TMA say it will explore all legal channels to appeal the decision.