January 10, 2023

Physician leaders warn of threat to autonomy of Turkish medical association

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By Chioma Obinna

The World Medical Association, WMA, and the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) have criticised the Turkish Government’s harassment of the Turkish Medical Association, condemning court hearing to dismiss 11 members of the Turkish Medical Association’s Executive Council and proposed legislation threatening the autonomy and independence of the Turkish Medical Association.

The duo warned in a press statement that the proposed bill would have a deteriorating impact on the delivery of quality healthcare in Turkey.

The Chair of the WMA Council, Dr. Frank Ulrich Montgomery 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, fulfill 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.’

President of the CPME, Dr. Christiaan Keijzer, 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.