MEDICAL CHAMBER STATEMENT FOR PEACE ACADEMICS: 'Physicians Always Defend Demand for Peace'

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  • February 27, 2019
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The İstanbul Medical Chamber (İTO) has held a press conference for the Academics for Peace, who are being tried for having signed the declaration entitled, “We will not be a party to this crime.”

In the trials, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) and İTO member Prof. Dr. Taner and former İTO board member Prof. Dr. Huri Özdoğan have been sentenced to 15 months in prison, İTO board member Assoc. Prof. Haydar Durak has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for terror propaganda.

İTO Chair Dr. Pınar Saip, former İTO Chair Dr. Taner Gören, former İTO board member Dr. Murat Ekmez, TTB Central Council Member Dr. Samet Mengüç, former İTO board member Assoc. Prof. Haydar Durak and İTO board member Dr. Osman Küçükosmanoğlu were present at the press conference.

“Our colleagues are not alone against unlawfulness”

Reading the press statement, İTO Chair Dr. Saip said, “We are with our colleagues who are being tried because their words are in favor of peace. We declare that they are not alone against this unlawfulness and that we are in solidarity with them.”

Remarking that the indictments of the 640 signatory academics are the same word by word, Dr. Saip said the Heavy Penal Courts have sentenced 129 academics to 15 months to 36 months in prison so far.

“Different courts, same verdicts, same reasons”

“18 physicians are being tried in İstanbul, more than 50 across the country. So far, the number of sentenced physicians and dentists is 9. In İstanbul, the trials of ten of our colleagues are continuing. Although they are being tried for the same charges in different courts, the verdicts, the reasons are always the same,” Dr. Saip said.

Saying that physicians have always defended the demand for peace, Saip remarked, “World Health Organization and the World Medical Organization confirmed that living in the conditions of peace is the social determiner of health. Our colleagues have been heavily sentenced because of doing their duty, because of signing a declaration for not having people dead.”

“Duty of the physician is not only to treat people”

“According to the article 5 of our professional ethics rules, the primary duty of the physician is to protect human life and health. Doctorship, by its nature, puts human life above everything else and prioritizes the stopping of deaths.

“The duty of a physician is not only to treat people. All kinds of elements that make people sick and die such as starvation, lack of water, malnutrition, absence of sheltering, war also concern the physician.

“All our colleagues, who are sentenced or whose trials are continuing, demanded non-conflict and peace with the sensitivity of not being a tool of the war politics of any armed power. They used their rights to express thoughts that deny violence. As humans and as doctors remaining loyal to medical ethics, they took a stance based on human rights on their own free will.

“Our colleagues would not be criminals under conditions where human rights and the rule of law are valid.”

Dr. Gören: “The word ‘absurd’ is not enough”

After Dr. Saip read the statement, Dr. Taner Gören, who has been sentenced to 15 months in prison, made a speech. Dr. Gören said that he signed the declaration because as an academic and a physician, he could not be indifferent to what happened during the curfews in the southeast in July 2015.

“I was in despair. I signed this declaration with a feeling of despair. I said, ‘We signed many texts before, but this won’t work’. But at this point, I am bewilderedly watching the developments. Unfortunately, the word ‘absurd’ is not enough to describe what has been lived.” (HA/VK)