Statement on the “Physician’s Positions Against Human Rights Violations”

August 9, 2016

Plotters of the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 committed a crime against humanity. Thousands of civilians and army members are arrested within the scope of investigations aiming to reveal the responsibles of the coup attempt.

In this process, the Turkish Medical Association declared its stance against military coups, by stressing that “the coup plotters should be fairly tried within the frame of the Constitution and the laws, and be punished as foreseen in the legislation, and that measures should be taken to avoid any further coup attempts by those who have access to arms and who hold the monopoly of violence on behalf of the society”.

Following the meetings of the National Security Council and the cabinet on July 20, 2016, President Erdogan declared a state of emergency covering the entire Turkey for three months.

Periods of extraordinary rule are recorded as periods of intensified violations of human rights and freedoms. The arrests and interrogation processes that started with the suppress of the coup attempt, the images disclosed to the press, and the reports prepared by the human rights organizations bring claims of torture and ill-treatment forward.

The extension of the maximum period of detention to 30 days, and authorization, by the Decree Having Force of Law No. 668, to limit the right to access to an attorney at law during the first 5 days of detention, signify the suspension of the “measures to protect individuals from torture and ill-treatment”, that are devised according to the international standards, and are compulsory to follow.

It should be recalled that the practices carried into effect by the state of emergency and decrees having force of law, can by no means suspend the right to life. Under all conditions including war, conflict, and state of emergence, “prohibition of torture is absolute and indispensable”. In the international law, the principle of “prohibition of torture” is not limited to not conducting such actions. It also assigns the states the responsibility to take and revise all the measures required in order to inhibit torture; to supervise the arrest-detention-conviction units; to ensure that torture incidents do not take place; to conduct medical and legal investigations of any claims of torture; and to prosecute and punish the responsibles of torture incidents, as well as those assisted.

It is known that testimonies taken under torture have no legal validity. Therefore, the correct procedure foresees the files of the coup plotters to be prepared by collecting evidence of what has taken place in front of all of us, and the plotters to be punished after a fair trial. The testimonies taken under torture might result in impunity, thus, might hinder the establishment of justice.

As the Turkish Medical Association, the Forensic Medicine Specialists Association and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, we declare that we are unconditionally against torture; and we request the claims concerning torture to be investigated by independent boards, and fair trial procedures to be meticulously applied in accordance with the universal law and ethical standards.

Under these conditions, we feel the urge to inform the public opinion once again of the fundamental professional values and the attitude of the physician in the face of human rights violations. As TMA, FMSA, and HRFT, we present the attached document entitled, “Paper on Physician’s Position Against Human Rights Violations” to the authorities, public opinion, and to our colleagues.

Turkish Medical Association

Forensic Medicine Specialists Association

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey

Also see:

– “In the judicial examination and reporting processes, the core values of medicine cannot be compromised”

-The İstanbul Protocol:

-The Istanbul Protocol:

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