Şebnem Korur Fincancı, leading forensic medicine expert and chairwoman of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV), was elected as the chairwoman of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) on Monday, Bianet news website reported.
Some 308 delegates out of 481 voted in the elections, and Fincancı’s group, whose slogan was “We don’t give up on life, the right to health and our professional body”, won 240 of the valid 303 votes, Bianet said.
Fincancı is Turkey’s top torture reporting expert and she was one of the academics who signed a peace petition in 2016 asking for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish conflict in Turkey and criticised the Turkish security forces operations in southeastern provinces of the country.
The TTB has been under Turkish government’s scrutiny for its criticism of the government’s coronavirus response.
The TTB has called for participation protests over the alleged government mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic, after numbers of cases spiked again with medics being among those most affected. And, the leader of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, on Sept. 16 requested for the country’s top medical association to be shut down amid the call for protests.
“Professional organizations are organizations that look at things critically. When criticisms are difficult to swallow, there have always been pressures and threats and there will also be in the future. It is not surprising. But we have always walked on our path and we will continue to do so,” Bianet cited Fincancı as saying.