Attacks on Physician Self-Governance in Turkey

The Turkish governement is completing its attack against the Turkish Medical Association!

Following the global trend of the neoliberal policies the turkish governement is rebuilding a totalitarian and antidemocratic legal framework in order to force to silence “enoying voices”, as this of the Turkish Medical Association.

The World Medical Association.expressed its concern and has raised strong objections to the Turkish Government’s attempt to dismantle basic functions and roles of the Turkish Medical Association.

In a letter to its member national medical associations entitled ‘Attacks on Physician Self-Governance in Turkey’, the WMA’s Secretary General Dr. Otmar Kloiber said the Turkish Medical Association had sought the help of the WMA in resisting the Turkish Government’s takeover of its functions.

In a letter to the WMA, the Turkish Medical Association said that under a Turkish Government decree adopted in November the medical association had been stripped of many of its functions, in particular the provision to ensure that the medical profession was practiced and promoted in line with public and individual wellbeing and benefit.

The decree also created a new Health Professions Board, to which the Ministry of Health was empowered to appoint the overwhelming majority of members. This Board had been given many of the powers that used to be exercised by the medical association, including giving opinion on the curricula of education and training in health, employment and ethical issues, investigating alleged ethical violations by physicians and applying disciplinary sanctions.

The Turkish Medical Association’s letter added: ‘The act of unconstitutionally issuing a decree in force of law in disregard of the authority of the legislative body gives rise to concerns about the totalitarian tendency of the ruling Government not compatible with any understanding of democracy.

‘Amendments in constituting laws of the Turkish Medical Association and other professional organisations as well as new arrangements regarding higher education institutions in the field of health and medicine aim at intimidating and eliminating the pressure group functions of professional organisations and academics who are not in line with existing Government policies’.

Feride Aksu Tanik, secretary general of the Turkish Medical Association, told the BMJ that the government decree has amended laws that affect not just the association but other medicine related organisations and medical schools. She said that the legal changes are aimed at “intimidating and eliminating the pressure group functions of professional organisations and academics who are not in line with existing government policies.” 

The need for an international movement of solidarity for our turkish colleagues is more than obvious! These policies are implemented with a tremendous homogeneity to all the world.

Solidarity is the first necessary move towards another humane and democratic society where people are over profits.

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