PHR sent this letter to the Turkish Ministry of Health expressing our deep concern over the ministry's efforts to pass legislation that would prevent medical personnel from providing emergency care to anyone in need, including demonstrators.
Dear Dr. Mehmet Müezzinoğlu,
I am writing on behalf of Physicians for Human Rights to express serious concern over the use of unnecessary violence against demonstrators and deliberate attacks on medical personnel who have courageously attempted to provide emergency medical assistance to those who have been injured by police in the Gezi protests. We understand that the Ministry of Health has submitted draft legislation that, if passed in Parliament, would require a new, special certification for independent medical personnel providing emergency assistance. We also understand that the Ministry has taken steps to collect information on medical personnel who have provided emergency medical services to the injured.
We are deeply concerned that such actions undermine essential medical principles of independence and autonomy and effectively criminalize the medical ethical duty to provide emergency medical care.
I have contacted your office more than 5 times in the past two weeks to arrange a meeting with you to discuss these issues and understand the experiences and perspective of the Ministry. We are currently in Ankara and kindly request that you consider a meeting with us on Monday morning, July 1.
Thank you for your consideration,
Vincent Iacopino, MD, PhD
Senior Medical Advisor
Physicians for Human Rights
Adjunct Professor of Medicine
University of Minnesota Medical School
Senior Research Fellow
Human Rights Center
University of California, Berkeley