Concern Over Reported Arrests of Turkish Doctors

(04.08.2016) Concern over continuing reports of mass arrests in Turkey, including doctors and others working in military hospitals, has been expressed by the World Medical Association.

WMA President Sir Michael Marmot, said the Association was particularly concerned about reported threats of mistreatment towards those arrested, and reports of torture, beatings, and lack of access to food and medicine.

We remind the Turkish authorities that they have an obligation to respect the sacred duty of physicians to care for those in need and uphold people’s right to health at all times. Physicians should be able to help anybody anywhere without any distinction. They must always follow their belief that their first principle must be the provision of medical care and the saving of life.

We urge the authorities to respect the professional autonomy and impartiality of healthcare staff, and to comply fully with international human rights law and other relevant international regulations.

We would like to see independent monitors assess the current situation so that we can clarify reports of threats to military doctors and others working in military hospitals and of health institutions being closed down.

We repudiate any threat to human rights and would urge in all circumstances respect for fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Turkey.