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Turkish doctors’ leader formally detained over chemical arms comment

#Turkish #doctors #leader #formally #detained #chemical #arms #comment

A Turkish court on Thursday ordered a doctor’s union leader detained for having called for a probe into the army’s alleged use of chemical weapons against outlawed Kurdish militants. 

Sebnem Korur Fincanci was arrested by Istanbul police Wednesday as part of an investigation launched by the Ankara chief prosecutor’s office.

Fincanci was later taken to the capital Ankara where she was formally arrested by a local court on “terror propaganda” charges, the private NTV television reported.

Fincanci told AFP last week that she had examined video footage and had only called for “an effective investigation” into the allegations.

Turkey has rejected allegations in media outlets close to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that its army has used chemical weapons in operations in northern Iraq.

The PKK is listed as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies.

Milena Buyum, a campaigner for Amnesty International, tweeted that the goup had called for the “immediate and unconditional release of human rights defender” Fincanci.

“Nothing she has said or done can justify the deprivation of her liberty in this arbitrary way, that is patently aiming at silencing her and sending a chilling message to others,” she added.

Police detained some supporters of Fincanci during protests in Istanbul Wednesday over her arrest.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had on Monday accused Fincanci of “speaking the language of terrorism” and said she could not remain at the top of the doctors’ union.

The PKK has kept up a deadly insurgency for Kurdish self-rule in southeastern Turkey since 1984. 

The Turkish army has launched successive operations against the militant group’s rear bases in northern Iraq, a persistent thorn in Ankara’s ties with the Baghdad government.

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