The People's Health Movement Concerned About State Organised Attacks on Activists and Health Workers During Recent Turmoil in Turkey

22 Jun 2013

The People ’ s Health Movement (PHM)1 strongly condemns violent acts by state authorities against members of civil society across Turkey. The PHM is particularly concerned about the use of chemical agents used to suppress demonstrations, causing danger to the health of the demonstrators affected, as recently disclosed by a cross-sectional survey conducted by the Turkish Medical Association . The survey provided evidence that the chemical agents used caused systemic health symptoms for those exposed to the gases and that tear gas grenades, tanks and rubber bullets, directly targeted at protestors, have caused severe head, facial and eye injuries, as well blunt thorax and abdominal trauma. It has been reported that during the recent protests more than 5.000 people have been injured and at least four killed.
Moreover, the PHM is concerned about reports detailing systematic police violence against medical doctors, nurses, medical students and volunteers providing care to the injured. Health workers assisting injured demonstrators in self-organised first aid centres were repeatedly attacked and detained.
The PHM calls on the Turkish government to ensure a total ban of any of chemical agents causing health hazards against members of civil society.
Further, the PHM calls for an immediate release of all detained health care workers and medical volunteers and to ensure that no further criminalisation of medical staff will occur by state authorities.
The PHM expresses its solidarity with all health professionals and volunteers who assisted the victims of brutality during the confrontations and provided health care in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities in Turkey and strongly supports the call on the international community, from the Turkish Medical Association to act immediately against the brutal suppression of democratic rights.

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