TTB doctors in police custody for anti-war statement

30 January 2018

Eleven doctors who are members of the board of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) were detained in dawn raids on their homes on 30 January, as part of an operation that was launched following government dismay with a statement from the association which criticized the Turkish government’s actions in Syria.

The official charges leveled against the doctors weren’t immediately available. The doctors who were detained in the operation according to Turkish news website T24 were TTB President Raşit Tükel and members of the TTB’s central committee,

Sezai Berber,Sinan Adıyaman,Selma Güngör,Hande Arpat,Ayfer Horasan,Taner Gören, Funda Obuz,Yaşar Ulutaş and Nazım Yılmaz.

Background

On 20 January, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) launched an incursion into Afrin, a Kurdish enclave of Syria in an operation Turkey named “the Olive Branch”.The Turkish government says the People's Protection Units (YPG), which controls much of northeastern Syria, is an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey considered a terrorist organization

On 25 January, the TTB issued a statement, denouncing war as a “man made public health issue that is damaging to nature and humans, and one which threatens social life” The TTB statement ended: “No to war! Peace, now!”

The same day President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a public statement called TTB as “terrorist lovers,” chastising their statement. The doctors replied, but on 20 January the Interior Ministry said it was investigating the TTB central council members.