Turkish Medical Association Chief Convicted on 'Terror’ Charge

    Turkish Medical Association Chief Convicted on 'Terror’ Charge
    Last updated Jan 11, 2023
    Image credit: Reuters [via Aljazeera]


    • An Istanbul court on Wednesday convicted the president of the Turkish Medical Association, Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci, of disseminating "terror organization propaganda."[1]
    • Fincanci was arrested in October and charged with engaging in propaganda on behalf of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), though rights groups and other doctors have denounced such arrests and convictions as attempts to silence the political opposition.[2]
    • After the conviction, the court sentenced Fincanci to almost three years in prison but also ordered her released from pre-trial detention while she appeals the verdict.[3]
    • The charges against Fincanci, a forensic expert, were based on an interview she did with a pro-Kurdish media outlet where she says she reviewed a video purporting to show the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish militants by the Turkish military in Iraq.[4]
    • The interview followed allegations by Kurdish militants that chemical weapons had been used against the PKK in northern Iraq. Turkish officials have rejected the allegations, claiming their military doesn’t have such weapons in its inventory.[4]


    Pro-establishment narrative

    Fincanci is the latest activist to be convicted under Turkey’s sweeping and undemocratic anti-terrorism laws. A forensic expert, she has spent much of her career documenting torture and ill-treatment, and this case is no different as she is clearly not participating in terrorist propaganda. Free speech is compromised in Turkey, and Fincanci is the latest activist targeted under these terror propaganda laws.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    Fincanci's sentencing is fair given that she broke the law by disseminating information developed by the PKK — a banned group and notorious terrorist organization. Her claims also slander Turkey’s armed forces and insult the country.

    Establishment split