Turkish authorities urged to ensure fair trial of physician

A renewed plea to the Turkish authorities to ensure that a senior Turkish physician receives a fair trial when he appears before the criminal court next week has come from the World Medical Association and the Standing Committee of European Doctors.

In a joint open letter to the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the two organisations of physicians say that in the absence of ‘substantiated and lawfully obtained evidence’ in support of the indictments against Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp, the charges against him must be dropped immediately.

Dr. Gökalp, a former member of the Central Council of Turkish Medical Association, was first detained a year ago on
charges of a ‘strong suspicion of crime’ and suspicious activity, based on testimony from a health worker unknown to Dr. Gökalp.

Dr. Heidi Stensmyren, President of the WMA, said: ‘Dr. Gökalp is a well-respected physician exercising his profession in line with the core ethical values of the profession and recognised for his commitment to serve public health interests and to protect patients and physicians. We are very concerned that this will not be a fair trial at the final court hearing next week. This fundamental human right to a fair trial is guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that Turkey ratified in 2003’.