11 members of Turkish Medical Association’s central council detained over Afrin operation remarks

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Eleven members of the Turkish Medical Association’s (TTB) central council, including head Raşit Tükel, were detained on Jan. 30 for their statement criticizing the Turkish military’s “Operation Olive Branch,” launched to remove the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the Syrian district of Afrin. 

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for the 11 members of the council early on Jan. 30.

The prosecutor said police in the capital, Ankara, had started legal proceedings on Jan. 30morning and search-and-detention operations were going on in eight provinces.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Ali Şeker announced the detention warrants were issued on his Twitter account.

Şeker and another CHP lawmaker, Niyazi Nefi Kara, issued a statement of support for the doctors’ group after the detentions, saying that NGOs and intellectuals who opposed the war were not alone.  

The Turkish Medical Association denounced the cross-border operation into Syria’s Afrin last week, saying “No to war, peace immediately”.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the union of treason on Jan. 29 and more than 300 people have since been detained for social media posts criticising the military operation in Syria’s Afrin.

“Believe me, they are not intellectuals at all, they are a gang of slaves. They are the servants of imperialism,” he told ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members in the Black Sea province of Amasya.

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