The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which represents all the medical royal colleges and faculties in the UK expresses its serious concern at the charges against members of the Turkish Medical Association for making a public statement in 2018 stressing that war is a public health concern that damages the environment and threatens the survival of society at large.
On 3 May 2019, the 32nd High Criminal Court in Ankara sentenced eleven council members of the Turkish Medical Association on the charge of “provoking the public to hatred and enmity”, in connection with two public statements that they had issued, drawing attention to the negative effects of war and conflict on public health.
An appeal hearing against the sentences is due to be heard before the end of the year. If the appeal is rejected the members of the TMA could face imprisonment.
The Academy believes the Turkish Medical Association has done nothing other than express its opinion in support of human rights and peace in a manner that is appropriate for an organisation representing doctors. This should not be a criminal offence.
The Academy believes that all doctors and other medical professionals should be able to work and express their opinions on health related issues free from violence or intimidation.
The Academy call for charges against the members of the Turkish Medical Association to be dropped.