Arbitrary Detention and Judicial Harassment of 11 Members of the Central Council of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB)

URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY

TUR 001 / 0118 / OBS 014
Arbitrary detention /
Judicial harassment /
Defamation /
Restrictions to Freedom of Expression
Turkey
January 31, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of 11 members of the Central Council of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB)[1] including its President Dr. Raşit Tükel as well as Mr. Sezai Berber, Mr. Sinan Adıyaman, Ms. Selma Güngör, Mr. Şeyhmus Gökalp, Ms.Hande Arpat, Mr. Ayfer Horasan, Mr. Taner Gören, Ms. Funda Obuz, Mr. Yaşar Ulutaş and Mr. Nazım Yılmaz.

According to the information received, in the morning of January 30, 2018, the Turkish police searched the homes and workplaces and detained 11 members of TTB in Ankara, Istanbul, Diyarbakır and Eskişehir following the issuing of detention warrants against them by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The detention warrants establish that they shall be detained for at least seven days on the grounds of “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” and “instigating people towards grudge and hostility” in line with the 3713 numbered Anti-terror Law.

Their arbitrary detention and judicial harassment are related to the publication of a statement on January 24, 2018, in which TBB called for an end to the Turkish military’s “Operation Olive Branch”[2] in Afrin, northern Syria, and in which TTB argued that “war is a problem of public health”. Following the publication of the statement the Ankara Office of the TTB and some individual members of TTB’s Central Council received a large number of threats by email, phone calls and social media. In addition, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly stigmatised TTB during a speech on January 26, 2018, calling them “terror supporters” and the Turkish Ministry of Health Ahmet Demircan stated that “the TTB does not represent the doctors in Turkey”.

The Observatory denounces that these attacks against TTB and its members take place in the context of an ongoing crackdown against human rights defenders in Turkey, which only aim at silencing their peaceful and legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory therefore urges the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release the 11 members of TTB who have been arbitrarily arrested as well as to put an end to all forms of harassment against them including at the judicial level.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Turkey asking them to:

i.       Immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Raşit Tükel, Mr. Sezai Berber, Mr. Sinan Adıyaman, Ms. Selma Güngör, Mr. Şeyhmus Gökalp, Ms. Hande Arpat, Mr. Ayfer Horasan, Mr. Taner Gören, Ms. Funda Obuz, Mr. Yaşar Ulutaş and Mr. Nazım Yılmaz, and put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level against them and other TTB members;

ii.      Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Dr. Raşit Tükel, Mr. Sezai Berber, Mr. Sinan Adıyaman, Ms. Selma Güngör, Mr. Şeyhmus Gökalp, Ms. Hande Arpat, Mr. Ayfer Horasan, Mr. Taner Gören, Ms. Funda Obuz, Mr. Yaşar Ulutaş and Mr. Nazım Yılmaz, as well as that of all members of TTB and, more generally, that of all human rights defenders in Turkey;

iii.     Comply with all the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, 6(a), 9, 11 and 12.2;

iv.    Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Turkey.

Addresses:

·         President of Turkey, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Fax: (+90 312) 525 58 31

·         Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Binali Yıldırım. E-mail: ozelkalem@basbakanlik.gov.tr

·         Minister of Justice, Mr. Bekir Bozdağ. E-mail: ozelkalem@adalet.gov.tr

·         Minister of Interior, Mr. Süleyman Soylu. Fax: +90 (312) 425 61 30

·         Minister of Health, Mr. Ahmet Demircan. E-mail: eposta@saglik.gov.tr 


·        Ambassador Izzet Selim Yenel, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50

·        Ambassador Mr. Ali Naci Koru, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Email: mission.turkey@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Turkey in your respective country.

***

Geneva-Paris, January 31, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

•   E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

•   Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

•   Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

 


[1]              Established in 1953, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) is a chamber of medical doctors in Turkey. The TTB aspires to defend the rights of doctors, represent for the profession of medical doctors and protect the ethic codes, contribute to medical education, improve and disseminate public health in Turkey. Its membership covers almost 60% of Turkey’s doctors with their members around 85.000 and it is affiliated to the World Medical Association.

[2]              The military offensive began on January 20, 2018, and is directed at the Kurdish Autonomous Administration’s military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Turkish authorities have cited YPG’s links to the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as the grounds for this military offensive.

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