Turkish police have detained the president of the country’s medical association after she called for an independent probe into the use of chemical weapons.
Dr Sebnem Korur Fincanci has demanded an independent investigation into allegations that the Turkish military used chemical weapons against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq.
The Ankara chief prosecutor’s office confirmed on Wednesday that the 63-year-old was detained on charges of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” as part of an investigation launched by anti-terrorism police.
Authorities have also asked a court to dismiss Fincanci as president of the chairwoman of the Turkish Doctors’ Union (TTB).
Last week, Turkish officials strongly rejected allegations that its military used chemical weapons against the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The group is considered a terrorist organisation in Turkey, Europe, and the United States.
Kurdish fighters released a list of 17 names and photos of people portrayed as alleged “martyrs” killed by poison gas in northern Iraq.
“There are no chemical weapons in the Turkish armed forces’ inventory,” Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Monday in response.
Fincanci, a forensic expert and leading human rights activist in Turkey, has spent much of her career documenting torture and ill-treatment. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, MD is one of Turkey’s leading human rights activists and an internationally-recognized forensic expert. President of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Turkey’s largest human rights organization (together with the Human Rights Association as the founding organization), Dr. Fincancı is one of the authors of the Istanbul Protocol, the international standard for forensic investigation and documentation of torture. She was the head of Istanbul University’s forensic medical department until she was forced from the position because of her support for human rights and academic freedom. She is one of the founders of the Turkish Penal Code association.
Speaking to pro-Kurdish media, Fincanci said she had “looked at and examined social media images” of alleged chemical weapons victims and called for an “effective independent investigation”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused her of slandering Turkey’s armed forces and of insulting her country “by speaking the language of the terrorist organisation.”
The Turkish Medical Association said Fincanci was the victim of a “lynching campaign” and said her detention was unacceptable.
In the latest news, reports are surfacing from various sources are sighting she was attached by The Gray Wolf ultra-nationalist Turkish movement and that police raided Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci’s home where they found Kalashnikov Bullets and supposed material from the Kurdish Independent movement. Devlet Bahçeli Erdogan’s coalition partner called for the revoking of her and the all of them members of the committees of the Forensic Doctors’ Associations citizenship, See the video below 7:40m onwards.
The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey – where Fincanci has also served as president – has called for her immediate release.
The doctor’s detention came a day after police conducted raids in several Turkish cities and detained 11 journalists working with pro-Kurdish media.
Police said the journalists were detained over content “that incites the public to hatred and enmity”.