Medical union chair faces complaint for speaking to exiled journalist on YouTube program

A criminal complaint has been filed against human rights activist and president of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Professor Şebnem Korur Fincancı on the grounds that she spoke on the YouTube channel of a journalist who is currently living in exile, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Kronos news website.

Fincancı was a guest on the “30 Minutes” program of journalist Erkam Tufan Aytav on his YouTube channel on Tuesday to talk about the increasing political pressure on the country’s doctors and the doctors’ demands of the government regarding an increasing number of acts of violence against healthcare personnel, their unrealistic workload and their inadequate salaries.

The country’s counterterrorism department said in a statement that the complaint against the professor was launched by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office due to her participation in the program of Aytav, whom they described as a “Fetö” member and on a wanted list.

Fetö is a derogatory term coined by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup or any terrorist activity.

Aytav used to work at Gülen-linked media organizations before fleeing the country in the aftermath of the coup attempt, following which the government launched a massive crackdown on non-loyalist citizens under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. He is currently living in exile in a European country and continues his journalistic work through his YouTube channel.

Fincancı tweeted on Thursday that she is free to speak to whichever journalist she wants and that the interview she gave to Aytav contains no elements of a crime.

The professor also said she found it thought-provoking that some pro-government media outlets were quick to report on the criminal complaint filed against her when they have ignored all the protests held by the TTB as well as the demands of the doctors.

“I am not a pro-censorship person. Mind your own business,” tweeted Fincancı.

Dozens of journalists were jailed while dozens of others had to flee Turkey in the aftermath of the coup attempt. The government considers working at a Gülen-linked organization or company to be evidence of terrorist organization membership.

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