Tragic death of healthcare workers causes outcry in Turkey

Violence against healthcare workers continues to claim lives in Turkey. On Wednesday, a cardiologist, Ekrem Karakaya, was shot 15 times and died. According to other sources, the shooter’s mother was a patient of Karakaya and he blames the doctor for her death. Karakaya’s funeral took place on Thursday.

His death drew attention to the appalling murders of many healthcare workers. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca have also expressed their concerns about this.

Erdoğan said he was sorry for Karakaya’s horrific death and expressed his condolences to the doctor’s relatives. He also stressed that they will take measures to prevent violence against healthcare workers and do their best to punish them.

Koca shared posts regarding the horrific incident on his social media accounts. He said they would do everything not to soil the doctors’ uniforms with the stain of violence.

Karakaya’s gruesome death was the final straw for many. The Union of Health and Social Care Workers (Sağlık-Sen) has announced that it will go on strike in many places in Turkey.

Many across the country protested the horrific attack by remaining silent for 15 minutes. As protesters chanted the slogan “violence in health care must stop”, some patients came for a doctor’s appointment and supported the strike with standing ovations.

In 2021 alone, healthcare workers were victims of 190 cases of violence, according to a report published by the Union of Healthcare and Social Services Workers (Sağlık-Sen). These cases involve 364 attackers and some 316 health workers.

Ayşegül Bilen, a medical specialist at a hospital in Turkey, said he was very sad about what happened on Wednesday. “The aggressors must be punished immediately; we are not safe in our workplace. Therefore, the necessary measures must be taken. Otherwise, we announce that we will not work in an unsafe environment.”

Other cases related to violence against health workers have taken place recently in cities like Izmir and Bursa in Turkey.

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