Some 40 medical chambers affiliated with the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) have stood by the organization, following harsh criticism from far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, who called for the TTB’s closure.
Bahçeli is a staunch ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, while the MHP is a coalition partner of Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The chambers released a joint statement on Sept. 17, in which they recited part of the Hippocratic oath and reiterated their support for the TTB.
“We are honored to be a part of and stand beside the TTB, which has always taken care of physicians, healthcare professionals, and the public, using its knowledge and expertise since its establishment in 1953 to make our country and its people healthier,” the chambers said in their statement.
“We are fortunate to have our professional organization that prioritizes and defends the right of public health, and does not compromise when it comes to scientific and free thinking. We say that it will always exist.”
Bahçeli, known for his bellicose rhetoric, lashed out at the TTB in a stream of tweets on Sept. 16, calling for its closure, accusing it of betrayal, and claiming it was as dangerous as the coronavirus itself.
Bahçeli’s comments followed statements from the TTB indicating that the organization was planning to hold demonstration in opposition to the government’s normalization policies, and that the country’s doctors and healthcare professionals were exhausted from fighting the coronavirus epidemic.