HDP Co-chair Sancar: Şebnem Korur Fincancı was detained on Erdogan's orders

There are protests in Turkey against the detention of Şebnem Korur Fincancı. HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar demands the release of the renowned scientist and says that the arrest was ordered by Erdogan.

There are protests in Turkey against the detention of Şebnem Korur Fincancı. The forensic scientist, born in Istanbul in 1959, is chairwoman of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and board member of the Human Rights Foundation in Turkey (TIHV). She was awarded the Hessian Peace Prize in 2018. Last Saturday, she spoke about the human rights situation in Turkey at the Concerned Persons Conference in Cologne. At the same time, a smear campaign was underway in Turkey against the medical doctor because she had publicly spoken out in favour of an investigation into the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish army in Kurdistan. Fincancı nevertheless returned to Turkey on Sunday. She had previously informed the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office through her legal counsel that she was prepared to testify in the criminal proceedings initiated against her for "insulting the Turkish nation". Instead of being summoned, Fincancı was taken into custody this morning at her home in Istanbul.

The TTB, the TIHV, the trade union federations DISK and KESK and the Human Rights Association (IHD) are demanding Fincancı's immediate release. Protest rallies have taken place in several cities in Turkey, including Istanbul and Amed (tr. Diyarbakir). The co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party, Mithat Sancar, visited the TTB headquarters in Ankara together with other MPs to express solidarity. TTB General Secretary Vedat Bulut expressed his gratitude for the visit and said: "The support of all those who contribute to the concept of independence, democracy and freedom in Turkey and share this struggle is important for us."


Mithat Sancar pointed out that Fincancı was detained because of an order from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the judiciary: "This was not unexpected, there was a lynching campaign against her. The President of the Republic spoke out directly against her. He even went further and instructed the judiciary and mobilised public prosecution. Şebnem was abroad. She had announced that she would come back and speak to the prosecution about the allegations on Thursday. The public prosecutor's office was informed of this. Nevertheless, she was detained today. After her arrest, this lynching campaign continued with slander and black propaganda methods. The reasons for the detention of Professor Fincancı and the lynching of her are obvious. The TTB is an organisation committed to the values of medicine and the principles of human rights and is fighting an effective battle in this field."


Şebnem Korur Fincancı is a human rights activist and doctor who continues this long-standing tradition of the TTB without compromise, Sancar continued: "She is our friend and colleague and strictly adheres to the ethical principles of her association. Because of her comments on the chemical weapons allegations, which are currently on the agenda, she has been targeted and detained as part of her professional expertise. The TTB has followed a line that has rejected war and the politics of war at all times. It has drawn attention to the social and political harms of war and campaigned for peace. From a universal perspective, this is one of the main objectives of all medical organisations. If one looks at the umbrella organisations and national organisations of doctors around the world, advocacy of human rights and opposition to war crystallise as the most important principles and goals."

Fincancı has been under constant attack and threat for a long time because of her firm stand against the government's war policy, Sancar continued: "If we all look objectively, we can see how deep the damage is that the war policy has caused in this country. If you look at all the universal criteria in the world, you come to the same conclusion that war policies are also a public health problem. But since this government ties its existence to the war policy, it wants to intimidate and silence the opposition that emerges in this area by all means. For as the opposition grows in war policy, the foundation on which the existence of this government rests is weakened and collapses. With it, the possibilities of the government to survive disappear. For this reason, the greatest sensitivity of this ruling bloc is the growth of opposition to the war and the spread of the struggle against the war. As the opposition to the war policy spreads, the electoral strategies and threats of this government run into the void. The TTB is being targeted and Şebnem Korur Fincancı is being criminalised for this very reason, because it takes up and continues this tradition in the clearest way."

Sancar pointed out that yesterday's detention of eleven journalists had to be assessed in the same framework and that the censorship law passed was part of the same plan: "The intimidation of opposition circles, human rights and democracy defenders and society will be the main policy of this government in the run-up to the elections. We have a responsibility to organise the strongest and broadest struggle against these policies. In other words, we have the responsibility to continue the common struggle for human rights, democracy and peace in all areas."