Erdoğan ally targets protesting doctors, says their strike is 'unlawful'

Erdoğan's ally Devlet Bahçeli has targeted doctors for protesting the increasing attacks on healthcare workers, saying that their nationwide strike is "unlawful."

Duvar English

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ally and the leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) on July 8 shared a message to mark the Eid al-Adha holiday in which he targeted doctors for protesting the recent murder of cardiologist Ekrem Karakaya and going on a nationwide strike in demand of safer working conditions.

MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli said that the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) had “turned into a tool of separatism” and “provoked” doctors to undertake a two-day-long strike.

“I find it very wrong that our doctors have gone on a boycott for two days, with the intentional provocation of the Turkish Medical Association, which turned into a tool of separatism. And I find the cancellations of the doctor appointments wrong and evaluate it as an unlawful act,” Bahçeli said.

He further said that the TTB's call for the nationwide strike was an “attempt to sabotage the health system,” deeming it “evil-minded.”

This is not the first time that Bahçeli has targeted the TTB. He frequently lashes out at the organization's management over its criticism of the government's health policies, accusing them of “supporting terrorism” -- a common discourse utilized by the government to attract nationalist votes. In March, Bahçeli went further with his remarks, saying that TTB executives should leave the country.

On July 6, the TTB announced a two-day strike after the murder of cardiologist Karakaya by a patient in the Central Anatolian province of Konya. The organization said that the government was partially responsible for such attacks as it was using a discourse quite hostile against doctors who demand better working conditions.