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Physician Leaders Warn of Threat to Autonomy of Turkish Medical Association

The Turkish Government’s harassment of the Turkish Medical Association has been strongly criticised by the World Medical Association (WMA) and the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME). In particular, the two organisations have condemned a court hearing tomorrow to dismiss eleven members of the Turkish Medical Association’s Executive Council and proposed legislation threatening the autonomy and independence of the Turkish Medical Association.

The two organisations warned that the proposed bill would have a deteriorating impact on the delivery of quality healthcare in Turkey.

Dr. Frank Ulrich Montgomery, Chair of the WMA Council, said: ‘No physician could support such a bill which goes against the well-being of people, at the expense of those whom the state has the duty to protect.

‘Independent, autonomous and democratic national medical associations, such as the Turkish Medical Association, fulfil a crucial role not only for the medical profession, but for patients, the healthcare system and the population as a whole’.

‘An autonomous profession allows the best delivery of healthcare, and an independent representation of the medical profession is paramount in the implementation of these principles.’

Dr. Christiaan Keijzer, President of the CPME described the legislation as ‘irrational and unacceptable’ and added: ‘Rather than continuing threats against the medical profession, the Turkish Government should consider the Turkish Medical Association as an independent and constructive partner in addressing public health priorities for the benefit of the Turkish population.’

The WMA and the CPME urged the Turkish authorities to drop the legislation immediately and to unconditionally safeguard the TMA’s autonomy and independence by withdrawing all charges against its members.

See the joint statement here.