February 3, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Doctors hunted as terrorists in Turkey

Serious charges brought President of the Medical Association in a neighboring country on trial for spreading terrorist propaganda following her claims of an attack on Syria.

Shebnem Korur Finkanji, 63, was arrested last October when she said in an interview that there should be an investigation into the alleged Turkish use of chemical weapons against Kurdish rebels in Iraq. Today, she denied the accusations, becoming the latest victim of Turkey’s anti-terror legislation, which human rights groups say is being used by the Erdogan regime to restrict freedom of expression. Finkanji faces up to seven years in prison if found guilty, and the court is expected to hand down its verdict on December 29.

“What I mentioned in my interview was an early diagnosis, it was not a final conclusion, but a call for an effective and independent investigation,” the medical examiner said. Accusations of using chemical weapons were made by Kurdish rebels, and Turkish officials vehemently denied that the army lacked such capabilities.

Finkanci was criticized by Erdogan himself, who accused her of insulting the Turkish armed forces and his own country, while promising to … purge Turkish medical associations and other organizations from “supporters of terrorism.” In fact, Erdogan’s nationalist allies are demanding exemplary punishment for her in the form of deprivation of Turkish citizenship, as well as the dissolution of a specific medical association.

Hundreds of citizens gathered outside the court today to support the doctor, who has devoted most of her career to documenting cases of torture and ill-treatment and is considered the country’s leading human rights activist.

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