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Turkey 'wants names' of volunteer doctors aiding protesters

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Turkish health ministry has opened an inquiry into the volunteers who provided first aid to protesters injured in two weeks of anti-government unrest, the national doctors' association said Friday, vowing not to cooperate.

"We were notified that an investigation has been launched into the improvised clinics that treated the protesters," Osman Ozturk from the Turkish Medical Association (TBB) said at a press conference in Istanbul.

The body was told to "immediately" give up the names of the medical workers and their patients, he added.

Hundreds of medics have set up temporary clinics across Turkish cities to help protesters hurt in clashes with police.

Nearly 7,500 people have been injured and four have died in the unrest so far, according to the TBB.

Speaking on behalf of the medical group, Ozturk said they would give "not a single name" to the ministry.

"All our brothers who have been working day and night to look after the (demonstrators) without fear of the tear gas grenades and water cannons are our honour," he said.

The health ministry was not immediately available for comment.

A peaceful sit-in to save an Istanbul park from being razed prompted a brutal police response on May 31, spiralling into mass outpourings of anger against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seen as increasingly authoritarian.

In demos across the country, riot police have used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets against demonstrators who have at times hurled back fireworks, rocks and Molotov cocktails.

Turkeys' Western allies have widely condemned what they described as excessive police force in the clashes.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130614/turkey-wants-names-volunteer-doctors-aiding-protesters