Turkish Parliament Passes a Bill That Will Criminalize Emergency Medical Care

Here is a text I received from a human rights group:

”The Turkish parliament passed a bill today that will criminalize emergency medical care and punish doctors with heavy fines and imprisonment for assisting those in need. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is urging the president of the Turkish Republic, Abdullah Gul, not to sign the bill, which would have a chilling effect on access to medical care.

Leading medical groups, including the World Medical Association, the British Medical Association, and the German Medical Association, have cautioned about the dire consequences the bill would have on medical care. The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health has warned about the chilling effect such a law would have on accessing care.

“There is a reason the medical community is speaking out so strongly against the bill,” said Dr. Vincent Iacopino, PHR’s senior medical advisor. “The Turkish government’s intolerance of opposition is so great that it is willing to compromise its citizens’ access to care in emergencies and incarcerate physicians for simply following their ethical duty of caring for those in need. The international medical community is calling upon President Abdullah Gul to refuse to sign this bill into law because it undermines the health of Turkish citizens and their trust in the medical community.”

Article 46, which would restrict medical professionals’ ability to provide care in emergencies, is part of a larger package of bills by the Ministry of Health. Legislators have inserted language in the bill that states emergency services by authorized personnel would only be allowed “until the arrival of formal health services and health service becomes continuous.” These vague and unnecessary conditions about who could provide medical care and when will result in the arbitrary arrest and punishment of emergency medical responders.

The provision puts doctors in direct conflict with their ethical and professional responsibilities to care for the sick and wounded. It is part of the Turkish government’s continuing effort to punish doctors and other medical professionals for treating everyone in need, including demonstrators during last summer’s anti-government protests.

PHR has documented the Turkish government’s unlawful use of force and tear gas, as well as deliberate attacks on the medical community. PHR’s report on the protests in Turkey last summer discussed not only the authorities’ detention of medical staff who treated those injured by the police, but also the government’s efforts to collect the names of injured demonstrators and those treating them.”


About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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One Response to Turkish Parliament Passes a Bill That Will Criminalize Emergency Medical Care

  1. 06cedmuho says:

    Reblogged this on 06cedmuho.

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