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IPPNW Germany Press Release

Academics who call for peace should not be persecuted

01/19/2016 The German branch of the medical peace organisation IPPNW today urged foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to call for the immediate release of Turkish intellectuals who have been arrested for signing an appeal to peacefully resolve the conflict with the Kurdish population. In a public petition, a total of 1,128 academics from 89 universities called for the Turkish government to put an end to violence in the region, predominately inhabited by Kurds, and to resume peace negotiations that were broken off last summer. According to media reports, as many as 27 scholars have been arrested and more than 130 are threatened with detention. The public prosecutors in Istanbul are said to be investigating all signatories of the appeal. Many face the threat of punitive action or losing their jobs.

The appeal states: “By imposing week-long curfews in many places, including Sur, Silvan, Nusaybin, Cizr, the Turkish government has sentenced its citizens to death by starvation and dehydration. In conditions similar to those in a war, entire neighbourhoods and districts are under attack with heavy artillery. Almost all human rights that should be protected under the constitution and international agreements signed by Turkey are being violated and suspended, such as the right to life and to physical integrity, to liberty, and to security from assault (in particular under the prohibition of torture and physical abuse). This systematically and deliberately implemented violent course of action lacks any legal basis whatsoever. Not only is it a serious breach of the legal system, it also violates international legal norms such as humanitarian law, to which Turkey is bound”.

One of the signatories is the Turkish forensic doctor and university professor, Prof. Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci from Istanbul, who received an IPPNW award in 2011 for her medical peace work for peace. Korur Fincanci became known for her efforts to establish objective forensic medicine and for exposing the effects of torture. These activities resulted in her being repeatedly suspended from her professorship for forensic medicine. She returned, however, time and again when courts ruled in her favour. Korur Fincanci is one of the founding members of the Forensic Doctors’ Association and has played a major role in the development of a UN reference standard for exposing cases of torture, the Istanbul Protocol. Sebnem Korur Fincanci has been the president of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey since 2009.

For further information about the medical peace prize recipient, Prof Dr Sebnem Korur Fincanci, see: www.medizinundgewissen.de/kongressarchiv/kongress-2011/presse/artikel/tuerkische-aerztin-erhaelt-preis-f.html  (in German)

Scholars at German universities and colleges have also initiated an appeal to support “Scholars for peace".


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