German Medical Association calls for release of physician arrested over chemical weapons remarks

Dr. Klaus Reinhardt, president of the German Medical Association, has called on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to ensure the release of the head of a leading doctors’ union in Turkey arrested on terrorist propaganda charges, calling the detention an attack on “the right to freedom of expression and medical self-regulation,” , Turkish Minute reported.

“I call on you to release Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı immediately,” Reinhardt wrote in a letter addressed to Erdoğan.

Fincancı, 63, chairperson of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), a forensic expert and a prominent human rights activist, was arrested in Ankara last month.

Her arrest came after she called for an investigation into the possible use of chemical weapons by the Turkish army against the Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.

“The arrest of Professor Fincancı is an attack on the right to freedom of expression and on medical self-regulation. Doctors are responsible for the well-being of a society as a whole. This is at the heart of the medical identity,” said Reinhardt.

Fincancı faces charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda and insulting the state in her remarks.

Reinhardt said in his letter that Fincancı stands for the fact that medical action is inextricably linked to advocacy for human rights and that addressing possible human rights violations is the duty of every doctor.

Turkey has strongly rejected the allegations that appeared in media outlets close to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that its army was using chemical weapons in its counterterrorism operations in northern Iraq.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community.

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