Humanity and Medicine!, by Turkish Medical Association

21 June 2013

Humanity and Medicine!

We waited and expected from those at the top

To be sensitive to a peaceful action taking place in Gezi Park…

To have respect to those who firmly adopted a peaceful attitude in spite of all violent acts against them…

Not to harm our citizens who rushed to streets peacefully to react to violent acts and attacks targeting even most fundamental humanistic demands…

Yes, we waited and expected

The Minister of Health to ban the use of chemical gases against our people raising their legitimate demands, to the wounded; in hospitals and other places where medical care is given, in hotels where people sought shelter, in rooms where small children were sleeping, to the sick and elderly …

We waited and expected them

To express their grief for the loss of Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, Abdullah Cömert, Mustafa Sarı and Ethem Sarısülük,

To convey their wishes of recovery to 59 citizens seriously wounded, 11 others who lost their eyes and thousands of citizens injured in various ways…

We waited them

To say it is under our guarantee to deliver medical care to all without any distinction who have suffered violence and exposed to gas while out in streets just for the fact that they are human beings; without enlisting them and without keeping their records in distinct forms…

And we waited and expected them

To recall human ethics and say “health workers have their immunity even in wartime†seeing physicians and students of medicine who were running around to help citizens falling breathless by teas gas, losing an eye or having skull fracture…

But we didn’t expect the following:

Engagement in such a disproportionate violence day after day against millions of people demanding freedom, equality and respect,

Collective and violent detention of lawyers, who opposed unlawfulness in the court house,

Accusing physicians, students of medicine and health workers giving urgent care to people for committing a crime,

Sending official writings to the Turkish Medical Association and Medical Chambers of Ä°stanbul, Ä°zmir and Ankara asking why they didn’t ask the permission of the Ministry before helping in urgent cases, Â

Asking the names of physicians, students of medicine and health workers involved in medical help and people who received medical care,

Detention of physicians and health workers,

Prime Minister’s attempt to divide the society into two and using one as a threat to the other,

Putting the Turkish Medical Association and physicians on the target and insulting them,

Categorizing as crime those acts which are deemed as rights in universal law and international conventions.

But we also didn’t know that

There were too many of peace-loving, mischievous, determined, stubborn and dignified young people ready to rise for freedom and equality as well as so many rejuvenating adults,

We didn’t know that

There were too many physicians, students of medicine and health workers who would so quickly rush to the help of our citizens who suffered violence in return for their just and peaceful demands,

We didn’t know that

After having been exposed for long years to such discourses as “physicians are just selfish, they pursue their interests only†our people would embrace us warmly saying “no interest of theirs is above the well-being of their patients, didn’t you know that?â€

We didn’t know that

Physicians worldwide would so quickly take sides with us in solidarity and making the same call to the Prime Ministry as we did by reminding the ethics and values of the profession of medicine.

Now we know…

We recalled

that humanity is conscience, solidarity and fraternity after all, that nothing can compromise the rightfulness of those rising against oppression and violence in the name of equality, freedom and human dignity,

that values of medicine derive from human values and cannot be separated from them…

After all our experience for the last 20-25 days, Prime Minister’s statements targeting the Turkish Medical Association among others annoy us no more. We also regard as normal those unscientific statements by the Prime Minister concerning abortion and caesarian section that also target physicians. We understand his furiousness and perplexity. Our only concern is possible delay in reaching the bright, peaceful, free and equal future that awaits us.

Here we declare once more: As the Turkish Medical Association we shall always be among, backing, leading and siding with both physicians and all who are involved in this process.

And we add:  The Prime Minister should excuse us; physicians in Turkey will never accept to be “Prime Minister’s physicians†as he is fond of speaking possessively like “my police†. As physicians in Turkey we shall be ready to help all who need us (including the Prime Minister himself).

If those resorting to tear gas, pressure water and violence have their Prime Minister, the TMA has humanity to be in solidarity with.

Turkish Medical Association

Central Council


Since May 31st 2013 the peaceful and legitimate demonstrations are tried to be suppressed by the police. The police forces are using chemical gases savagely on the unprotected civil masses.

Before complete blockage of health assistance to the injured people and the preclusion of the functioning of health services by the police attacks, that took place once more again on the night of  June 15th , Turkish Medical Association was started a web based survey in order to disclose the dangerous health effects of these gases targeted at defenseless people and in one week period, over 11 thousand of people declared that they have been effected by the gas.

65% of the repliers were between 20-29 years of age and professional protecting mask usage was only 13%. The total duration of exposure was evaluated among 11.164 replies. 53% declared that they have exposed to the chemical gases 1-8 hours where 11% exposed more than 20 hours.  Exposing the chemical gases more than one day increases the prevalance of the systemic symptoms, especially cardiovasculer symptoms.  These data shows the dimensions of the problem.

Before the 15th of June disaster the total number of injuries were 788 (%7). These data shows that the gas bombs were targeted the people. Many of them were the injuries of head, face, eyes, thorax and abdomen which could be fatal. 20% of the injuries were open sores and fractures.

Only 5% of the people were admitted to hospitals. The tagging of the people who are admitting to the hospitals is preventing people from going to the hospitals in order to ask medical assistance. Ministry of Health opened an investigation about Istanbul Chamber of Medicine which is organizing the volunteer physicians’ work. In Istanbul one physician an done medical student handcuffed and detained.  There are many other informations about the detaining of health care staff. These data shows the witch-hunt in Turkey.

Turkish Medical Association making calls to the government to act responsibly and stop the barbaric violence immediately.  As Turkish Medical Association it is our responsibility to inform the international community. We urgently call the international community to act against brutal suppression of democratic demands.

 Turkish Medical Association

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