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Prosecutors seek removal of doctors’ union management after chairperson’s arrest

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Turkish prosecutors are seeking the removal and replacement of the executives of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), including chairperson Şebnem Korur Fincancı, who was arrested on Thursday after urging a probe into the army’s alleged use of chemical weapons against Kurdish militants, local media reported on Friday.

In a lawsuit filed with a civil court by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, prosecutors demanded the dismissal and replacement of the head and members of the TTB’s central council, saying the association had been “operating beyond its purpose.”

The case will be heard at the Ankara 31st Civil Court of First Instance, Turkish media reports said.

The development comes in the wake of the arrest of Fincancı, a forensic expert and a prominent human rights activist, on charges of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” due to her recent remarks about the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) alleged use of chemical weapons against militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iraq.

On Oct. 18 the pro-Kurdish Fırat News Agency (ANF) published a video that showed two members of the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community, apparently under the influence of a chemical agent.

Commenting on the video, Fincancı previously said that it was “obvious” that one of the toxic chemical gases that directly affect the nervous system has been used and called for a probe.

Turkey has strongly rejected the allegations that appeared in media outlets close to the PKK that its army was using chemical weapons in its counterterrorism operations in northern Iraq.

Fincancı is frequently targeted by the Turkish government and the victim of judicial harassment for standing up against widespread human rights violations in the country, which reached new heights following a failed coup in July 2016.

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