Turkish medical workers on nationwide strike after murder of doctor, assistant

Turkey’s healthcare workers on Thursday began a two-day strike following the murder of a doctor and his secretary by a patient’s relative in central Konya province, BBC Turkish reported.

The country’s top medical organization, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has called for the strike to protest against soaring cases of violence targeting the country’s medical workers, while calling for the resignation of the Minister for Health Fahrettin Koca, BBC said. 

Cardiologist Ekrem Karakaya and his secretary were killed on Wednesday at Konya City Hospital by the relative of a patient, who was reportedly frustrated with the specialist physician’s treatment of a family member, BCC Turkish reported. The assailant, Hacı Mahmut Akcay, took his own life following the incident, it said.

The killings are the latest in a string of attacks against the country’s healthcare employees, who for months have also protested what they are calling inadequate pay and unmanageable working conditions.

“In the face of violence, we can no longer tolerate any damage to … physicians/health workers,’’ the TTB said in a statement issued on Thursday. “As we have repeatedly stated, violence is a predictable and preventable social problem, and this problem can be overcome with overarching policies aimed at solving it.”

Turkey’s healthcare workers were subject to 190 acts of violence targeting 361 healthcare workers in 2021, according to a report by the Union of Health Care and Social Service Workers (Sağlık-Sen). The figure marks a 62 percent uptick compared to the previous year.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s media watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) banned all media coverage of the double homicide, SoL news site reported on Wednesday.

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