The following is Turkish Medical Association’s response to the Health Minister who is reported to have said he will start criminal proceedings against the doctors who helped the injured (regardless of who they were) during the Gezi Park movement.
Is the humanitarian voluntary medical help provided to Gezi protesters not ‘legal’?
According to the press reports dated 13 June, ‘Health’ Minister Dr Mehmet Müezzinoğlu stated that medical help provided to those injured during the Gezi Park protests and the setting up of temporary infirmaries were not legal, and that legal proceedings against those involved will be started.
Let us remember:
It’s a human duty to help the injured and the sick.
What is criminal is not to help the injured and the sick (Turkish Criminal Code, clause 98)
The principal duty of doctors and dentists is to protect human life and health and to provide first aid without any discrimination (Medical Code of Ethics clause 1-2)
It is the responsibility of the government to provide health service to everyone, without discrimination and in accordance with respect to human dignity, rights and freedoms (BIO-MEDICAL Agreement clause 1)
To provide health services to everyone in need is above all other public benefit considerations (BIO-MEDICAL Agreement clause 2)
To protect human health and to provide a health system which secures the fundamental rights and freedoms of those in need of health service are the legal duties of the Ministry of Health
Let us remember:
For 16 days, tear gas has been used, gas canisters have been fired targeting human bodies and homes, there are deaths, eyes lost, skulls fractured, brains haemorrhaged and thousands injured. Places that provided health services were attacked with tear gas. Ministry of Health was silent.
Ministry of Health started a new procedure that recorded the names of those taken to hospitals due to their injuries sustained during the protests.
Turkish Medical Association suggested that the medical information should be collected anonymously as the fear of being prosecuted later will prevent the injured from going to hospital. According to our research with 7,000 people who were affected by tear gas, only 1.7% said they went to a hospital.
In return, instead of respecting the privacy of the patients and thereby ensuring that people can go to hospitals without, the Ministry has blamed the Turkish Medical Association.
It now says that the students, nurses, doctors and dentists who acted with honour and helped the injured acted illegally.
Let us think together
‘What is legal?’ ‘What is illegal?’
Then, let us ask the Minister of Health who he is thinking of prosecuting and for what.
Medical workers volunteered to provide health services during the 1999 Istanbul and 2011 Van earthquakes. Were they also acting illegally?
Just as it was then and it is now, medical workers will continue to do what is required of their profession everywhere and will provide medical services to protestors and security forces without any discrimination.
Turkish Medical Association will support all doctors, medical students and all medical professionals who may be persecuted because of their honourable humanitarian behaviour.
We present his for the information of the public, with respect
Turkish Medical Association