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The four parties in Parliament have agreed to establish a research commission to investigate recent violent attacks towards health care providers and to discuss necessary measures to ensure the safety of health care personnel in Turkey. The commission is expected to be established next week.
Turkey saw two major violent attacks towards medical personnel last week. In the first, cardiothoracic surgeon Ersin Arslan, from the southeastern province of Gaziantep, was stabbed to death on Tuesday by the grandson of a patient who he operated on, an incident that called attention to the safety of medical personnel in Turkey. These concerns escalated when Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Van deputy Özdal Üçer attacked a doctor in Van only four days after the first incident. Üçer felt the doctor had not acted quickly enough in treating his wife and daughter, who were injured in a car accident. Numerous other incidents have been noted across the country following these two attacks.
Mustafa Elitaş, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) parliamentary group deputy chairman, called on the other parliamentary parties — the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the BDP — to help the AK Party establish a commission to research the issue of violence against health care providers in Turkey last week. The request from Elitaş was met with support from the other parties, and the commission is expected to be established next week. Commission members will discuss possible measures to be taken to halt violence against medical staff in the country.
Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Elitaş said that Parliament is doing its part by establishing the commission and added “What upset me most was the incident in which a deputy, who has the responsibility to prevent violence and be an example for the public on this issue, attacked a doctor in Van. In this regard this incident is as concerning as the one that occurred in Gaziantep.”
Stating that there is no excuse that can legitimate the violence, Elitaş added that no person from any position or authority has the right to commit violence against any public sector personnel on the grounds that they do not their job well.
Commenting on the recent violence, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said during his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday that recent violent incidents against medical personnel are the consequence of the AK Party’s Health Transformation Program, which was launched by the Health Ministry in 2005.
Stating that the rosy scenarios projected by the government regarding health care under the new program are completely baseless, Bahçeli argued that recent policies have damaged doctor-patient relationships in Turkey and turned the doctor and patient into enemies.
Noting that he condemns any violent act against medical personnel, Bahçeli further added that what the BDP deputy did on Saturday should not go unpunished and he called on Parliament to take action on the issue as soon as possible.