Turkey signs law ‘criminalizing’ medical first aid without govt permit

19th Jan 2014 – A medical bill has been signed into law in Turkey that requires doctors to obtain government permission before administering emergency first aid. Critics have blasted the bill as a crackdown on doctors who treat activists injured during protests.The bill, which was drawn up by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), punishes health care professionals with up to three years in prison or a fine of almost $1 million if they administer emergency first aid without government authorization.

It also bans doctors from practicing outside state medical institutions and aims to stop them from opening private clinics.
President Abdullah Gul signed the legislation into law Friday. It has prompted a flurry of accusations from rights groups, condemning it as an attempt to criminalize emergency health care and deter doctors from treating protesters. The US-based Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) attacked the legislation as an attempt to quash dissent in Turkey, following last year’s violent protests. “Passing a bill that criminalizes emergency care and punishes those who care for injured protesters is part of the Turkish government’s relentless effort to silence any opposing voices,” PHR senior medical adviser Vincent Iacopino said in a statement on the PHR website.

Describing the bill as “repugnant,” Iacopino said the legislation not only puts everyone’s health at risk, but also conflicts with the Turkish constitution and “must be blocked through Turkey’s constitutional court.”

The PHR says the bill will also put the medical community at odds with their ethical and professional responsibility to care for the sick and wounded.

The UN has implored the Turkish government to rethink the bill because it will have “chilling effect on the availability and accessibility of emergency medical care in a country prone to natural disasters and a democracy that is not immune from demonstrations.” In last year’s wave of protests against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, six people were killed and over 8,000 were injured across the country.The government was accused of cracking down on medical professionals when the Turkish Health Ministry launched a probe into those doctors treating protesters in June. They asked the Turkish Medical Association (TBB) to hand over the names of the doctors and their patients.

“Recently we were inspected by the Ministry of Health, they said what we were doing here is wrong. But there could be no punishment for those who are helping people. There is no such religion or law that could discriminate against us,” Abtullah Cengiz, spokesman for the Gezi Park doctors, told RT in June.

From: http://rt.com/news/turkey-health-ban-aid-850/

Turkey health ban aid

Police use a water cannon to try to disperse people protesting against newly proposed restrictions on the use of the internet and against the Turkish government during a protest on the Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul, on January 18, 2014 (AFP Photo / Mete Carkci)

Draft law to criminalise emergency medical help!

A new bill is drafted criminalising emergency medical help. They will probably give other reasons…guess inc not trusting medical prof to do it.

This is a “morally repugnant” law and international community should know about it as one tweeter puts it.


And remember, doctors were arrested during Gezi for helping protestors so a law to come out to legitimise that outrage shouldnt really surprise us…

Yoğurtçu Park of Istanbul supports Rojova

A group of volunteers has launched a campaign in Istanbul’s Yoğurtçu Park by setting up #resistrojava desk, accepting medicine and dry foods donations in order to support people in Rojava – Syria’s Kurdish region. The campaign was initially launched on August 4, after Al Nusra Front has committed a series of massacres on Kurdish people in Rojava, Syria. Volunteers are reportedly working on to spread to other forums in Istanbul’s various parks and also setting up social media accounts on Twitter (@rojavayayardim) and Facebook (Rojavaya Acil Yardım) to spread the word.



The campaign statement included:

“Supported and nourished by AKP government, Al Nusra Front is committing massacres on Kurdish people in Rojava who are demanding for freedom and democracy. The Front is trying to annihilate all Kurdish people regardless of infants, children, young, women and men. During Gezi Resistance, we have not only raised demands for peace, democracy, freedom but also we have came to understand the value of fraternity. Now we are accepting donations for Rojava.”

Original source in English and Turkish:





Today was a very busy day in London for those who wanted to show their support for democratic rights in Turkey.

Article 19 organised a stand-still protest outside the Turkish Embassy to commemorate the 7 people killed during the protests.


People from Turkey who have been concerned about what’s happening in Turkey also organised an arts, music and performance protest outside the Tate Modern and on the Millennium Bridge which then continued at the Turkish Fest at Bernie Spain Gardens further down the Southbank.

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The placards and costumes of the participants were particularly colourful and showed the creativity of Gezi spirit. There was a woman with a sign “my bump is not ugly”. Another was dressed in a zebra outfit holding a sign reading ‘out with the penguin, in with zebra’ [during the worst of the violence government controlled media broadcast documentaries about penguins instead of showing the news]. There were musicians in gas masks and balloons with #london4gezi hashtag.

The following text is taken from the leaflet distributed at the performance event:

Who are we?

We are people from Turkey concerned about what’s been happening. Once a week we hold forums to find ways of supporting the resistance. Join the conversation and stand with us in solidarity.

W: www.londongezi.wordpress.com

E: londongezi@gmail.com

T: @londongezi

To sign the petition for the UK government to condemn the violence: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/51112

The information provided in the leaflet is as follows

Let’s talk turkey!

Is freedom of expression not a natural right?

Does one not need green spaces in a huge metropolis?

Should we not be free to choose our lifestyles?

Not according to the current Turkish government!

Two months ago, environmentalist protesters were brutally attacked by the police as they defended Gezi Park in the heart of Istanbul. The government had gone ahead with the demolition of the park despite the court’s ruling against it. Images of state violence spread through social media and millions hit the streets in support of the protesters. Yet the government would not listen and continued to escalate the violence and lawlessness.

5 killed, 9000+ wounded, and 12 have lost eyes after tear gas canisters were fired at their heads. Countless protesters have been arrested.

Today, the witch hunt still continues

For treating the wounded, doctors are criminalised.

For defending the detained, lawyers are arrested.

For writing the truth, journalists are sacked.

Every day brings some new attack from the ‘usual’ water cannon and tear gas combo to or a more subtle ones on lifestyles. Pregnant women are just one recent target. Their bumps render them ‘immoral’ according to a leading religious thinker who says they should stay at home.

Today’s action is to bring the voice of the Gezi Park resistance to London.

Their demand for democracy must be heard.


For coverage of the performance in Turkish press, see:













The ongoing Turkish protests have left us enlightened and emboldened

21st July 2013 – The overseas interest has waned but our protests continue amid a brutal government crackdown and give us reason to smile.

On 25 June, three weeks after the Gezi Park protest started, an American friend sent me an email. He asked me whether I was OK, and hoped that the protests hadn’t “affected me in a negative way”. There was something in his tone that suggested that he thought the protests were already in the past, the camp in the park having been liquidated on 15 June. He was wrong; they have continued ever since. Why?

Because five people have died, more than 8,000 have been injured, and 11 people have lost an eye; because prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues to cut down thousands of trees all over Turkey to build shopping malls, hydro-electric power stations and skyscrapers; because whoever criticises him – journalists, students, teachers who join a trade union – is in danger of ending up in jail and if they are a woman, being sexually harassed; because doctors who treated the injured and lawyers who represented protesters have been arrested and beaten; because those responsible for the deaths of protesters have not been brought to justice; and because Erdoğan’s rhetoric has encouraged machete- and stick-wielding AKP thugs on to the streets whose attacks on us – with the police standing by – go unpunished.

What has happened since the night the police drove us out of the park and fired tear gas into hotel foyers and hospitals? On 17 June the famous standing man appeared in Taksim prompting a wave of standing people all over the country and briefly, around the world. The same day, Çarşı, the group of Beşiktaş football supporters that has played a major role in the protests, made a call: “From now on we will meet in Abbasağa Park in Beşiktaş; if they throw us from here, we will go to Maçka Park; if they throw us out of there we will find another.” Since then there have been forums in about 20 parks all over Istanbul, and in many other cities. I hadn’t been to Abbasağa Park before, even though I was born in Istanbul, nor did I spend much time in Yoğurtçu Park in Kadıköy, across the Bosphorus, even though I lived there for a year.

What are people doing in these forums? There is a platform, a microphone, and a chair person. Between 9pm and midnight anyone can go to the platform and talk about anything he or she wants. In the first week (starting from 17 June) many people made moving speeches, though not about unfamiliar things. After one week or so some experts started to come: lawyers, doctors, media people. Then workshops began: for children, filmmakers, women, lawyers. Photography exhibitions documented the police brutality that we refuse to forget.

Apart from that, if something outrageous happens, we march, at any time of the day. We marched in Kadıköy the day the police officer who shot Ethem Sarısuluk in the head was released on bail; a couple of thousand became tens of thousands as people came out of their houses to join us. We marched when we learned that people had been kept in custody illegally. We marched to the headquarters of the ATV channel to protest against their silence over their non-coverage of the protests. On 22 June we marched to the Taksim Square to lay carnations for our friends who died, and for the policeman who died falling from a bridge while chasing the protesters; a beautiful, peaceful scene, but still the police attacked and drove people out. The next Saturday, 29 June, we gathered in front of Galatasaray high school and marched to Taksim because two days before, in the village of Lice near Diyarbakır, the gendarmerie killed a Kurdish youth, one of a crowd protesting against the building of new gendarmerie stations. Again the police attacked us. The following day we went on the LGBT march along Istiklal Caddesi. On 6 July we organised a water fight (a Turkish tradition on that day) so the police could save their water cannons, but once again we were attacked, and chased into the surrounding neighbourhoods, where the police began randomly arresting people sitting in cafes.

I came back to England several days ago, having participated in the protests from the beginning, and wish to carry on here. At least I can write. I can write about what happened, and why. I can also find out how people here – people from Britain, people from Turkey – are reacting to the protest and how events are covered in British media. I can discover for instance that there has been little coverage of Turkey since 15 June. Maybe one or two things but that is all. I understand that there are other problems in other parts of the world, that the TV in particular likes spectacular images, but there are plenty of them being posted from Turkey every day – maybe the BBC and the newspapers should take a look.

I wrote back to my American friend to tell him that, far from affecting me in a negative way, the protests have changed me, and thousands of others, for the better: we have got used to tear gas and are no longer afraid of water cannons, I have been reunited with friends I hadn’t seen for years, met new and interesting people, given shelter to others, discovered Istanbul parks I didn’t know existed, seen the inside of mysterious old buildings, learnt something about human rights, and persuaded my parents that when they hear words like “gays”, “lesbians”, and “transvestites” they need not be afraid. And I have discovered that I won’t let my country be taken from me.

Turkish anti-government protesters in Gezi Park, Istanbul Photograph Bulent KilicAFP Getty Images

Turkish anti-government protesters in Gezi Park, Istanbul Photograph Bulent Kilic AFP Getty Images

From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/20/turkish-protests-enlightened-emboldened

When you can’t get printed, you write on Post-Its

People started to leave post-it notes around to spread the news mass media in Turkey ignores or misrepresents.

The notes in these pictures are about the recent rape cases the accused rapists being released because their child victim did not put up a fight, because their adult victim was already not a virgin, because the accused came to the court wearing a religious head gear and holding a folded prayer mat, because because because….shameful.

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Also see:




For those of you outside Turkey who think it’s over…. it ain’t!

International media has lost attention but the turmoil in Turkey continues in the grimmest Kafkaesque fashion imaginable.

* This week, Yigit Bulut, a fierce critic-turned-ardent AKP supporter, pseudo-journalist, top demagogue and Turkey’s surrealist par excellence, has been named chief advisor to Erdogan. Bulut insists there is an international conspiracy to kill the prime minister via ‘telekinesis’.

* Construction on the controversial third Bosphorus bridge, with motorways through the forested area north of Istanbul, has been suspended when authorities ‘realised’ that it was being carried out at a ‘wrong’ location, unrelated to the plans at hand. Work will restart at the ‘correct’ location. Meanwhile, thousands of trees were mowed down at the ‘wrong’ location. It will be extremely naive bordering stupid to expect the ‘wrong’ area will be reforested. It will most likely be de-designated as forest and open to development….expect to hear about a 5-star hotel, shopping mall and luxury residence project soon.

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* Two days ago, Ali Ismail Korkmaz, a 19 year old university student, brutally beaten by stick-wielding thugs while running away from police assault in the city of Eskisehir, died after a month in coma. He was denied immediate treatment at the hospital and told to report to the police, before he lost his consciousness due to brain damage. 18 minutes of vital CCTV footage has mysteriously disappeared, therefore there are no suspects.

* Yesterday Ali’s funeral was taken to his hometown of Antakya. This is the multi-ethnic, multi-religious province on the Syrian border that has faced extreme tensions since the outbreak of the Syrian war; it was here that Turkey’s worst terrorist attack killed 51 people only two months ago [and media was banned from reporting. PM Erdogan did not even make a condolence speech of note]. Thousands gathered to protest after the funeral and were met with a ferocious police response, now a daily occurrence in this once peaceful province. At least 18 are reported injured with two people blinded and one undergoing brain surgery.

* Last night, a public forum in Fatih, a conservative neighbourhood of Istanbul, was attacked by knife and stick-wielding men, while commemorating the death of Ali Ismail.

* A man caught on video swinging a meat cleaver at unarmed protestors at an earlier incident in Istanbul was released from police custody. Public outrage forced the authorities to issue a new arrest warrant. Today, it emerged that the man had left Turkey and is now vacationing in Morocco. He was supposed to be one of those small businessmen who are on the verge of bankruptcy due to the protests intervening with business.

*20 members of Taksim Solidarity group were detained, the arrest demand for them was rejected at court and they were released. Evidence for their setting up a terrorist organisation included sunglasses and the colour green.

* There are several young people in coma from being hit on the head with tear gas bomb canisters or sticks. One is only 14 years old and has been in coma for 27 days.