Dr. Fincanci: I have no regrets over my remarks
Dr. Sebnem Kourur Fincanci, the chairwoman of Turkish Medical Association (TTB), said that she has no regrets over having told her opinion concerning images of an alleged victim of chemical warfare.
Fincanci was sentenced by a Turkish court on Wednesday to 2 years and 8 months in prison over "terrorism propaganda," because she had told a Brussels-based broadcaster after watching a video - allegedly showing a chemical warfare victim in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), where the Turkish military has been carrying out military campaigns for years:
"Obviously, one of the toxic chemical gases was used that directly affects the nervous system."
She had also urged independent investigation into the incident in the context of international conventions.
The day she was convicted in court, she was released after having been held in custody for two and a half months.
She told Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish:
"Why should I have regrets? I only made a medical assessment. I watched a video. I watched it with my colleagues. My friends, who are members of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, earlier applied for a visit to the region, but they were not able to. We may make preliminary assessments when we are working on cases of severe rights violations through observations of images. There are some indications in this case. Those indications suggest that there is an element concerned which has been received by respiration. It apparently had an impact on the lungs. What I say is, it has a gaseous form, and it's likely that this gaseous form is toxic."
"Still, I didn't say it was caused by a 'chemical weapon.' I only said it should be investigated whether a chemical weapon is involved, and if this is the case whether or not it is a weapon that has been banned. This is the procedure dictated to us by international conventions and protocols. Forensic medicine experts have a particular reference for advanced examinations in such cases: The Minnesota Protocol. An autopsy should be conducted accordingly in order to identify the gaseous form, if one is actually involved. That's all I say, and there is nothing here to have regrets about."
Dr. Fincanci also faces a broad sanction in the context of Turkish Penal Code article 53, which may lead to a ban on participating in public services, practice of profession, right to vote and be elected, and child custody.
In case the local court's decision is upheld by the appeal court and she is sanctioned under 53, she will no longer be able to carry out her duty as Turkish Medical Association's chair.