İstanbul police want abortion records for use in investigations about insulting president

The İstanbul Police Department has asked the provincial healthcare authority to provide it with a list of women who had abortions or sought treatment for a hormonal disorder between January 2017 and May 2019 for use in expanding several investigations, the Birgün daily reported on Tuesday.

The department sent an “urgent and confidential” notice to the İstanbul Provincial Healthcare Directorate on Aug. 29 and asked the directorate to provide a list of women between the ages of 30 and 40 who had abortions or sought treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age, in all state-run and private hospitals in the province between Jan. 1, 2017 and May 31, 2019.

The police said it needs the list for use in a number of investigations including those into members of the Gülen movement, bribery investigations and investigations concerning insults of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

It was not clear how the list would help facilitate these investigations or are relevant to them. But dozens of women have been arrested while pregnant or just after delivery due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed coup. These women were jailed despite the fact that according to Turkish law, “the sentence of imprisonment is set aside or postponed for women who are pregnant or who are within six months of delivery.”

Former president of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Raşit Tükel criticized the İstanbul Police Department for seeking to obtain medical information about individuals without their consent.

“Individuals’ personal healthcare data are within the confidentiality obligation of healthcare organizations. Medical data cannot be shared with others without the consent of the individuals,” Tükel tweeted on Tuesday. (

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