Turkey detains top doctor over chemical warfare remarks

Turkey detains top doctor over chemical warfare remarks
Update: 26 October 2022 20:46
A+ A-
Sebnem Korur Fincanci, the head of Turkish Medical Association who has been a target of President Erdogan was detained on Wednesday of “terrorism propaganda”

Turkish security forces have detained Turkish Medical Association (TBB) Chair Sebnem Korur Fincanci, who is also a human rights activist, on Wednesday, over her remarks regarding the allegations of Turkey’s chemical warfare.

Fincanci who has been detained in Istanbul, will be taken to capital Ankara, where the chief public prosecutor’s office has launched a probe against her last week, Birgun newspaper reported.

On Thursday, prosecutors in Ankara has launched an investigation into Fincanci, after her statements over the allegations that Turkish military used chemical weapons against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in Northern Iraq.

"Obviously, one of the toxic chemical gases was used that directly affects the nervous system," Fincanci told Media Haber during a live broadcast, sharing her examinations on the basis of the coverages allegedly showing the chemical warfare posted in social media. Fincanci also urged independent missions to investigate the incident within the scope of international treaties.

Following the interview, Fincanci has been targeted by pro-government media, leading to a legal investigation on the grounds of “disseminating propaganda in favour of a terrorist organisation” and "insulting the Turkish nation, the state of the Republic of Turkey and its institutions.”

The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) of which Fincanci is also a board member, denounced the detention as “unacceptable” via social media and called on the authorities for her immediate release.

Following the announcement of the probe against Fincanci last week, Turkish President Erdogan on Monday has targeted the top doctor as saying that “necessary steps, concerning both this person and the association in question, will be taken."

"The judiciary has taken action against the Turkish Medical Association's chair who made a slander against our Turkish Armed Forces that have been conducting cross border campaigns (...) We will see, through a new legislation if necessary, that this person is removed from her post. I believe that it disturbs every single individual of our nation that such a person, who slanders the reputation of her nation and army using the language of the terrorist group, is currently heading an institution whose title begins with the word Turkish," Erdogan said.

On Tuesday, Devlet Bahceli, the leader of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has gone further and called on authorities to strip off Fincanci’s Turkish citizenship.

“Enmity against Turkish soldiers is a military service to the enemy. Those who act as spokespersons of terrorists, are also pure terrorists,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governing ally Bahceli said. 

“Those who throw mud at Turkish soldiers speaking through the mouth of traitors should be deprived of their Turkish citizenship and sentenced to statelessness,” he said.