Turkish Medical Association calls for the immediate release of Şebnem Korur Fincancı

Despite the ongoing smear campaign, the Turkish Medical Association is aggressively backing its arrested president Şebnem Korur Fincancı. The internationally renowned medical doctor has once again spoken out from prison.

The Human Rights Department of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has again called for the release of Şebnem Korur Fincancı in Ankara and made it clear that they will not be intimidated. TTB Chairwoman Fincancı was arrested on 27 October for publicly speaking out in favour of an investigation into allegations regarding the use of chemical weapons in Kurdistan.

Dr Ali Karakoç, Head of the TTB Human Rights Department, recalled that the TTB has worked for life, truth, peace and the common good throughout its 70-year history and that members of the Central Council have been tried several times for this reason. Then a message delivered by Fincancı was read out. "We will continue our struggle with the same hopeful and activist optimism," Fincancı said in her message from Sincan Prison in Ankara.

Dr. Ayşe Jini Güneş, member of the Executive Committee of the TTB’s Human Rights Department, stated that the TTB are among the most important and transformative institutions in democratising Turkey and improving the human rights situation. The medic recalled that the then TTB President, Prof. Dr. Nusret Fişek, and other board members were put on trial for advocating the abolition of the death penalty. Güneş said: "The TTB Central Council members who were convicted for advocating peace or saying that war is a public health issue will be remembered with respect in the future."

"Human rights fall within the remit of the medical profession"

Referring to the role of the TTB, Güneş said: "It should not be forgotten that the TTB contributed significantly to the first criminal convictions for torture with its alternative forensic reports, while torture was ignored in the official forensic reports due to the destruction of professional autonomy. Prof. Dr Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Chairperson of the TTB Central Council and Professor of Forensic Medicine, is one of those who contributed to all these issues. It is unacceptable that she was targeted and arrested after giving a preliminary assessment to the press on a recent question about her profession and expressing that the matter should be investigated and clarified. Health is defined as a state of physical, mental, social and political well-being. In this context, human rights fall within the remit and responsibility of the medical profession. The fact that doctors and their professional organisation TTB are subjected to systematic pressure by the authorities because of these activities is also an interference with professional autonomy and the right to health of society."

Güneş further said: "The arrest of Şebnem Korur Fincancı based on a preliminary assessment she made as a professor of forensic medicine is unacceptable. The TTB president must be released immediately."

Şebnem Korur Fincancı: "Stay tuned!"

Meanwhile, internationally renowned forensic scientist Şebnem Korur Fincancı has spoken out about her work with another message from prison:

"While I was preparing a detailed brief including the algorithm for our scientific evaluation practice, I was unfortunately confronted with the arrest process before I could finalise it. To complete this scientific study, I have asked my colleagues for existing UN guidelines and scientific resources. As soon as I get them, I will complete this study and share it with you. I hope that such an algorithm that will shed light on the ways of finding the truth will be my contribution to those who, like us, are criminalised in their search for the truth. Stay tuned."