LETTER TO BE PUBLISHED IN “KATHIMERINI” NEWSPAPER ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN TURKEY
Athens, Sunday, February 13th, 2018
I would like to note that the recent detention of the President, the Secretary General and members of the Board of Directors of the Turkish Medical Association because of their statement that the war had a negative impact on the health of the population was not given due attention by the press. Obviously it was considered that this statement was related to the invasion of the Turkish troops in Syria.
Apart from the apparent violation of freedom of speech, the detention of our Turkish colleagues is incompatible with the scientific evidence on the consequences of war on the health of war survivors and of the population as a whole. It is also incompatible with the Athens Anti-War Declaration of the 25th of March 2016 (www.psychiatricprevention.com) adopted by more than 100 international organizations, as well as by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.
Following a strong protest by the World Psychiatric Association, the European Psychiatric Association, most of the National Psychiatric Associations (including of course the Hellenic Psychiatric Association) and other organizations, our colleagues were released but they are still under “judicial surveillance” whatever that means. The special attention on this issue by psychiatrists is due to the fact that the President and the Secretary General of the Turkish Medical Association are both psychiatrists.
This incident is not negligible. It reveals the degree of state intervention, the lack of sensitivity to human rights and, ultimately, the potential danger on many levels arising from the attitude of the neighboring country. However, it also reveals that there are courageous and honest voices in this country that do not hesitate to speak the truth no matter the price.
George N. Christodoulou
Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Athens
Former President of the World Federation for Mental Health