The Turkish Government’s recent announcement that it intends to dismantle the Turkish Medical Association (TMA) ‘to protect patients and the profession from terrorists’ has been strongly criticised by the World Medical Association.
At its annual Assembly, being held online this week, the WMA said that describing thousands of physician members of the TMA as terrorists ‘constitutes a grave defamation and an insult to the entire profession’.
In an emergency resolution, physician leaders urged the Turkish Government to protect the establishment of the Turkish Medical Association as a national independent association and the main representative body of all physicians in the country, and prevent any legal regulation that will harm its professional autonomy.
Dr. Miguel Jorge, President of the WMA, said: ‘The WMA opposes this outrageous governmental interference with the independent functioning of a national medical association. We are calling on the Turkish authorities to respect the universal professional values of medicine, which were built on thousands of years of experience and aim to prioritize patient and public health’.
The Turkish Medical Association has faced numerous attacks from the Turkish Government in recent years following its public statement in 2018 that the ‘war is a public health problem’. Several of the TMA’s leaders have been arrested and sentenced to prison.