The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into all members of the Turkish Medical Association’s (TTB) executive board for being members of a terrorist organisation, Mezopotamya News Agency reported on Monday.
The prosecutors have also imposed a confidentiality order on the investigation, it said.
Şebnem Korur Fincancı, a forensic expert and the head of the TTB’s board, was arrested on charges of terrorist propaganda in late October after she commented on an online television programme about allegations regarding the Turkish military forces use of chemical weapons against Kurdish fighters during military operation in northern Iraq (south Kurdistan). Fincancı, who is also a world famous human rights activist, said in this programme that such allegations that indicate crimes violating international law should be investigated by an independent body.
Fincancı appeared in court for the first time last week during the first hearing of her trial. The prosecutor demanded an upper-limit sentence for the crime of terrorist propaganda, which is seven years and six months in prison. The next hearing of the trial will be held on 29 December.
According to Mezopotamya, the same prosecutor is also in charge of the investigation opened against all executive members of the TTB.
The investigation is possibly linked to Fincancı’s statements on Turkey’s use of chemical weapons, meaning that, as the chair of the executive board, she will be investigated for the same crime for a second time.
Human rights activists have been urging international bodies, especially the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to investigate allegations against Turkey, after the military wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) released a video showing Kurdish fighters allegedly suffering symptoms after a Turkish chemical weapons attack.
Turkey denies the allegations and calls them ungrounded. Hulusi Akar, Turkish Minister of Defence, told reporters last week in Ankara that the Turkish people will not forgive those who tried to frame Turkey over chemical use allegations.
“Our nation will never forgive those who cast on the Turkish Armed Forces the aspersion that it is using chemical weapons, those who stand by those slanders, and those who blow the trumpet of terrorist chiefs. Turks and Kurds are siblings,” pro-government Sabah daily quoted Akar as saying.