In the latest vitriol from the ruling alliance over an exodus of Turkish doctors leaving the country, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has targeted the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), calling on its management to leave the country.
“Now they are saying that our doctors are leaving Turkey. They do not know that our doctors, whose hearts are beating for the nation and the country, are not going anywhere or are not thinking of going anywhere,” he said in his weekly address to his party’s members in parliament on March 15.
“If we look at the TTB, Turkey has long declared a collapse in healthcare. If there’s anyone that needs to leave, they are the handful of separatists that are in the management of the TTB and enemies of Turkey,” he added.
“Come on, go. Let them go and never come back,” he said.
“We are well aware of the rightful demands of our healthcare staff, primarily doctors,” he said, adding that a recent package unveiled by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on improving working conditions and healthcare staff’s pay was welcomed by his party.
Erdoğan on March 14 said pay would be improved and stricter laws to prevent violence against medical staff would be introduced.
Last week, Erdoğan drew backlash from the TTB and doctors after he criticized a large number of doctors leaving Turkey to seek better conditions and pay abroad.
“If they can leave, let them leave,” he had said.
The TTB has criticized the government over a number of issues in recent years, including its healthcare policies and the way it handled the pandemic. In 2018, it condemned a Turkish military operation into northern Syria.