Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

For Immediate Release

Press Release

PHR Condemns Sentencing of Turkish Doctor and Calls for Immediate Dropping of Charges


PHR condemns the sentencing in absentia of Dr. Gençay Gürsoy, founder and former president of the Turkish Medical Association (TMA), by the Istanbul 37th Penal Court in Turkey.  Dr. Gürsoy was sentenced to two years and three months in prison on the trumped-up charge of “disseminating propaganda for an armed terrorist organization.” The court decided not to reduce the prison sentence, stating that Dr. Gürsoy showed “negative attitude and behavior … and does not feel any remorse.” Dr. Gürsoy was unable to attend the hearing for medical reasons. The sentence will now go through an appeals process.

Dr. Gürsoy is being targeted after having signed on to a petition titled “We Will Not be Party to These Crimes,” which calls on the Turkish government to cease violence against civilians. This petition was a response to the ongoing government crackdown following an alleged coup attempt in July 2016. Since then, according to Amnesty International, more than 50,000 people have been arrested, with at least 25,000 academics amongst them. While most have been released, many human rights defenders, including physicians, continue to face charges and unfair trials.

Dr. Gürsoy previously served as the secretary general and chair of the Istanbul Medical Chamber, and as an honorary member of the board of the TMA. In addition, he was the head of the neurology department at the Medical School of Istanbul University, and helped found the Human Rights Association and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey. Dr. Gürsoy retired in 2006.

PHR previously sent a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, calling on him to release detained members of the TMA. Turkish authorities must immediately cease their targeting of medical doctors for practicing their fundamental right to freedom of expression, and for calling on the government to stop its crackdown against those who protest human rights violations. PHR calls for the baseless charges against Dr. Gürsoy to be immediately and unconditionally dropped, and for an end to the unjust targeting of dissenters and to unfair trials and sentences.


PHR was founded in 1986 on the idea that health professionals, with their specialized skills, ethical duties, and credible voices, are uniquely positioned to investigate the health consequences of human rights violations and work to stop them. PHR mobilizes health professionals to advance health, dignity, and justice and promotes the right to health for all.

'Infuriating': Biden Rebuked for Continued Opposition to Supreme Court Expansion

"What does Biden 'agree' with doing?" Mehdi Hasan asked. "What does the leader of this country want to do to stop the increasingly fascistic assault on our democratic institutions and basic rights?"

Kenny Stancil ·

'We Need Action': Biden, Democrats Urged to Protect Abortion Access in Post-Roe US

"The Supreme Court doesn't get the final say on abortion," Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Tina Smith wrote in a new op-ed.

Kenny Stancil ·

Motorist 'Tried to Murder' Abortion Rights Advocates at Iowa Protest, Witnesses Say

Although one witness said the driver went "out of his way" to hit pro-choice protestors in the street, Cedar Rapids police declined to make an arrest.

Kenny Stancil ·

'A Hate Crime': Oslo Pride Parade Canceled After Deadly Shooting at Gay Bar

A 42-year-old gunman has been charged with terrorism following what Norway's prime minister called a "terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people."

Kenny Stancil ·

'We WILL Fight Back': Outrage, Resolve as Protests Erupt Against SCOTUS Abortion Ruling

Demonstrators took to the streets Friday to defiantly denounce the Supreme Court's right-wing supermajority after it rescinded a constitutional right for the first time in U.S. history.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo