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Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of 11 members of the Central Council of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB)


TUR 001 / 0118 / OBS 014
Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment /

Defamation /

Restrictions to Freedom of Expression
January 31, 2018

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, apartnership of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requestsyour urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrarydetention and judicial harassment of 11 members of the Central Council of the TurkishMedical Association (TTB)[1]including its President Dr. Raşit Tükelas well as Mr. Sezai Berber, Mr. Sinan Adıyaman, Ms. Selma Güngör, Mr. Şeyhmus Gökalp, Ms. HandeArpat, Mr. Ayfer Horasan, Mr. Taner Gören, Ms. Funda Obuz, Mr. YaşarUlutaş and Mr. Nazım Yılmaz.

According to the information received, in the morning of January 30,2018, the Turkish police searched the homes and workplaces and detained 11members of TTB in Ankara, Istanbul, Diyarbakır and Eskişehir following theissuing of detention warrants against them by the Ankara Chief PublicProsecutor’s Office. The detention warrants establish that they shall bedetained for at least seven days on the grounds of “making propaganda for a terroristorganisation” and “instigating people towards grudge and hostility” in linewith the 3713 numbered Anti-terror Law.

Their arbitrary detention and judicial harassment are related to thepublication of a statement on January 24, 2018, in which TBB called for an endto the Turkish military’s “Operation Olive Branch”[2]in Afrin, northern Syria, and in which TTB argued that “war is a problem ofpublic health”. Following the publication of the statement the Ankara Office ofthe TTB and some individual members of TTB’s Central Council received a largenumber of threats by email, phone calls and social media. In addition,President Recep Tayyip Erdogan publicly stigmatised TTB during a speech onJanuary 26, 2018, calling them “terror supporters” and the Turkish Ministry ofHealth Ahmet Demircan stated that “the TTB does not represent the doctors inTurkey”.

The Observatory denounces that these attacks against TTB and its members take placein the context of an ongoing crackdown against human rights defenders inTurkey, which only aim at silencing their peaceful and legitimate human rightsactivities.

The Observatory therefore urges the Turkish authorities to immediatelyand unconditionally release the 11 members of TTB who have been arbitrarilyarrested as well as to put an end to all forms of harassment against themincluding at the judicial level.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Turkey asking them to:

i. Immediately and unconditionally release Dr. Raşit Tükel, Mr. SezaiBerber, Mr. Sinan Adıyaman, Ms. Selma Güngör, Mr. Şeyhmus Gökalp, Ms. HandeArpat, Mr. Ayfer Horasan, Mr. Taner Gören, Ms. Funda Obuz, Mr. Yaşar Ulutaşand Mr. Nazım Yılmaz, and put an end to all acts of harassment, including atthe judicial level against them and other TTB members;

ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical andpsychological integrity of Dr. Raşit Tükel, Mr.Sezai Berber, Mr. Sinan Adıyaman, Ms. Selma Güngör, Mr. Şeyhmus Gökalp, Ms.Hande Arpat, Mr. Ayfer Horasan, Mr. Taner Gören, Ms. Funda Obuz, Mr. YaşarUlutaş and Mr. Nazım Yılmaz, aswell as that of all members of TTB and, more generally, that of all humanrights defenders in Turkey;

iii. Comply with all the provisions of the United NationsDeclaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the UN General Assembly onDecember 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1, 6(a), 9, 11 and 12.2;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rightsand fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rightsstandards and international instruments ratified by Turkey.


· President of Turkey, Mr. RecepTayyip Erdoğan, Fax: (+90 312) 525 58 31

· Prime Minister of Turkey,Mr. Binali Yıldırım. E-mail:

· Minister of Justice,Mr. Bekir Bozdağ. E-mail:

· Minister of Interior,Mr. Süleyman Soylu. Fax: +90 (312) 425 61 30

· Minister of Health, Mr.Ahmet Demircan. 

· Ambassador Izzet SelimYenel, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50

· Ambassador Mr. Ali NaciKoru, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.Email:

Please also write to the diplomaticmission or embassy of Turkey in your respective country.


Geneva-Paris, January 31, 2018

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of thisappeal in your reply.

The Observatory forthe Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 bythe World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of thisprogramme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression againsthuman rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of, the European UnionHuman Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:


Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] Establishedin 1953, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) is a chamber of medical doctorsin Turkey. The TTB aspires to defend the rights of doctors, represent for theprofession of medical doctors and protect the ethic codes, contribute tomedical education, improve and disseminate public health in Turkey. Itsmembership covers almost 60% of Turkey’s doctors with their members around85.000 and it is affiliated to the World Medical Association.

[2] The military offensive began on January 20, 2018, and is directed at theKurdish Autonomous Administration’s military wing, the People’s ProtectionUnits (YPG). Turkish authorities have cited YPG’s links to the armed KurdistanWorkers’ Party (PKK) as the grounds for this military offensive.

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