Police detained medics for speaking against Afrin offensive

 

Administrators and members of Turkish Medical Association (TTB) who were pointed as a target by Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan for calling for peace against Afrin operation have been detained.

Turkish police conducted raids on the homes of 11 administrators and members of TTB, including TTB President Raşit Tükel and members of TTB Central Council. There is 7-day detention order for the medics who have been taken to hospital for the medical check after detention.

Ankara prosecutors began a probe into the TTB council on Monday after it issued a statement last week saying “war is a human-made public health problem”. TTB’s statement is here:

War is a public health problem!

As doctors we warn:

War is a human-made public health problem with effects of destroying nature and humankind, a threat to social life.

Each armed conflict, each war brings along human tragedy by causing irremediable problems in terms of physical, mental, social and environmental health.

As members of a profession who have taken an oath to save lives, we constantly keep in mind our first and foremost duty to defend life and commit to maintaining the environment of peace.

The way to cope up with the problem of war is to have a just, democratic, equalitarian, free and peaceful life and maintain it.

No to war; peace now and everywhere!

Central Council
Turkish Medical Association”

The comments led to angry remarks Friday by Erdoğan about the Turkish Medical Association whose members he described as “terrorist-lovers”.

The association’s head office received a “large number of threats of violence by email and phone calls”, rights group Amnesty International said after the public outcry.

Erdoğan again hit out at the group on Sunday: “They are not intellectuals, they are a gang of unthinking slaves… They are the servants of imperialism.”

After the Erdoğan’s statements, TTB published secınd declaration:

“1- The Central Council of Turkish Medical Association (TTB) made an open declaration on Wednesday, 24 January 2018.

2- Different reactions were received on the following two days. Besides many approving and supporting the statement there were also discourse and threats targeting the association and even inviting lynch by adding some statements that do not exist in the original declaration.

3- The TTB Central Council pays attention to reactions from both its members and citizens.

4- What must be repeated first of all is that the statement by the TTB Central Council is formulated with utmost meticulousness by observing the well-being of our children now beyond borders, their parents and close circles, devoid of any disrespect. Those who are on duty abroad are just our souls as others who react.  The TTB Central Council rejects distortions made against itself in this respect.

5- The TTB Central Council expressed its opinion in this process in line with a stance and sense of responsibility that a medical association should adopt.  The values of the profession of medicine in regard to such cases as conflict, war, actions against terrorism and similar others as well as position statements with long years of background are clear enough to dismiss divergent interpretations. The statement by the TTB Central Council dated January 24th remains fully loyal to this ground.

6- In spite of these we sadly hear, see and experience some reactions turning into calls of stigmatization that may well bring along some provocative assaults. Indeed, the latest statements made by the highest authorities of the State bear the risk that they can be conceived as se statements pointing out to the TTB Central Council as a common target.

7- In the light of this information, TTB Central Council reminds the public authority its responsibility to fulfil the duty of creating an environment in which the life safety of all is ensured and freedom of expression is protected for all without any exception. On this occasion, we once more share our wish for a free, democratic and peaceful Turkey and the world.”

WORLD MEDICAL ASSOCIATION CONDEMNED THE OPERATION

World Medical Association (WMA) has condemned the operation launched against Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Central Council members.

The WMA’s statement is as follows:

“The WMA fully supports our Turkish colleagues in their public statements that war is a public health problem. The WMA has clear policy that physicians and national medical associations should alert governments to the human consequence of warfare and armed conflicts.

“The Turkish Medical Association has a duty to support human rights and peace and we are alarmed about the latest arrests and the criminal complaint. We strongly denounce these attacks on freedom of expression, which is enshrined in article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Turkey ratified in 2003.

“We call on the Turkish authorities to immediately release the physician leaders and to end the campaign of intimidation. We urge national medical associations around the world to advocate for the full respect of Turkey’s humanitarian and human rights obligations, including the right to health, freedom of association and expression.

Turkey launched a cross-border offensive supporting Syrian rebels with ground troops and air strikes on January 20 against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in its western Syrian enclave of Afrin.

As many as 311 people were detained in the past week for allegedly engaging in “terrorist propaganda” through social media postings critical of the military operation.

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StWC & SPOT Statement: Oppose Turkey’s attack on Afrin

On Saturday, 20th January, Turkish war planes launched air strikes on Afrin, one of the three Kurdish cantons in Northern Syria.

We oppose all outside intervention in Syria, from whatever side. We see this latest intervention as one which can only worsen the situation, while in particular targeting the Kurdish YPG. We note that the Syrian government had denied the Turkish government’s claim that which “all parties being involved were informed and operation is being carried with respect to Syria’s territorial integrity”.

It is reported that a ground operation is expected to follow with the support of the Free Syrian Army. The Turkish government is trying to justify this as “protection of the border and security”. This is a false justification of Turkey’s war on the Kurdish population in the region. These attacks are not aimed at protecting security because Turkey’s border security is not endangered. Afrin has been the calmest region in the whole Syrian civil war.

This war will have devastating consequences for the peoples of Turkey, Syria and of the region. The responsibility for this will lie with Turkey’s ruling AKP government, its leader Erdogan, and those imperialist powers who consent to these attacks.

We are particularly concerned given that Turkey is an important NATO member and there is a danger that its involvement here will herald wider intervention from other NATO powers.

This is not in the interests of anyone who is suffering as a result of this seven year long war. All outside intervention must end now. Only the people of Syria can decide their future.

We call on the British government to use all efforts to put pressure on Turkey to end the attack. It is important that the trade union movement and the anti war and peace movement exert as much pressure as possible through protests, lobbying and campaigning.

Stop the War & SPOT (Solidarity with the People of Turkey)

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Solidarity with Afrin – Take Action Now

Urgent call for the people of UK, politicians, trade unionists, campaign groups, democrats, intellectuals and all those who side with peace, freedom and justice to take immediate action to protest the bombing of Afrin.

Background
On Saturday, 20th January, Turkish war planes launched air strikes on Afrin, one of the three Kurdish cantons in Northern Syria. A ground operation has now begun with the support of the Free Syrian Army.

The Turkish government announced that the operation, cynically dubbed “Olive Branch”, targets the Syrian Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) and ISIS.  In fact it is a war being waged on the people of Afrin and sabotages hopes for future peaceful co-existence between the Turks and the Kurds not just inside Turkey but also across the Middle East.

The Syrian government also denies being informed of the military operation targeting Afrin, despite a statement by the Turkish Government that “all parties involved were informed and the operation is being carried out with respect to Syria’s territorial integrity”.

A later statement said 108 targets belonging to Kurdish militants had been hit. The YPG said the strikes were being carried out indiscriminately, and have already killed 9 people, including 6 civilians, and wounded 13 (and rising).

The Turkish government is trying to justify this operation as being for the “protection of the border and security”. In fact, this is a wholly untrue justification of Turkey’s war on the Kurdish population. The real threat to the peoples of Turkey is not its Kurdish neighbours who fought against ISIS and other jihadist gangs in northern Syria and Rojava and built democratic regimes with other peoples of the region.

It is clear that these attacks are not aimed at protecting the security of Turkey because Turkey’s border security is not endangered. Afrin has been the calmest region in the whole Syrian civil war.

Turkey has been waging a war against the Kurdish population in Turkey and has launched these attacks to destroy the Kurdish democratic formations in Northern Syria, considering them as a “bad example”.

The responsibility of the killings lies with Turkey’s ruling AKP government, its leader Erdogan, and those imperialist powers who consent to the attacks. We will not be part of it.

Turkey was placed back on the European Union Human Rights watchlist in April 2017 and has consistently breached Human Rights both within and outside its own jurisdiction. We oppose the UK government’s involvement in arms deals with Turkey and call on our Government to put a stop these sales.

Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT) calls on the people of the UK, including politicians, trade unionists, campaign groups, democrats, intellectuals and all those who side with peace, freedom and justice to take immediate action against these attacks.

Solidarity with the People of Turkey (SPOT)
**

Send a message of protest to the Turkish Government using the email addresses below.
bimer@basbakanlik.gov.tr
embassy.london@mfa.gov.tr

You can also send a letter to your local MP. If you are unsure what to write, you use the letter below. Also you can also find your MP here: https://www.writetothem.com/

Dear MP,

On Saturday, 20th January, Turkish war planes launched air strikes on Afrin, one of the three Kurdish cantons in Northern Syria. This was followed by ground attacks on Sunday with civilian casualties already being reported. We urgently need you, as a Member of Parliament, to take some action to put an end to this bloodshed.

This act of unprovoked warfare by the Turkish state threatens to destablise one of the calmest regions throughout the whole Syrian civil war. Afrin has been a crucial safe haven for people fleeing ISIS in the region, and it must stay that way!

It is clear that the Turkish government’s claim that this war is to protect Turkey’s border and security is simply untrue, and it will have devastating consequences for not just the Kurdish people who will pay with their lives but also the people of Turkey and of the broader region.

The responsibility of the killings lie with Turkey’s ruling AKP government, its leader Erdogan, and those powers who fail to oppose these attacks and take action to influence Turkey to cease its attacks on Afrin with immediate effect.

As a resident of your constituency, I am calling on you to:

  • raise this issue as a priority with the UK Government,
  • call for an end to all UK arms sales to Turkey,
  • publicly condemn Turkey’s aggression on the Kurdish regions, and
  • take any other necessary action to end the bloodshed in Afrin.

Yours sincerely,

Your name..

 

 

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