Health Minister apologizes to 89-year-old doctor knocked down in scuffle with police

Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has apologized to the 89-year-old doctor Prof. Erdinç Köksal who was knocked down during a police intervention on the Medicine Day.

Duvar English 

The 89-year-old doctor Prof. Erdinç Köksal has said that he received an apology from Health Minister Fahrettin Koca after he was knocked down during a police intervention on the Medicine Day. 

Köksal made the comments on March 22 during a press conference organized by the Istanbul Medical Chamber (İTO). 

On March 14, police officers tried to stop doctors from laying a wreath at Istanbul's Taksim Square. During the incident, Köksal was knocked down and his white apron was covered in mud.  

On March 22, Köksal handed over his muddy white apron to the İTO to be kept as an "exemplary document," online news outlet Diken reported.

He said that for the first time in his 64-year professional life, his apron got dirty. “Our shirts always get dirty, but with blood during the surgery,” Köksal said. 

He said that Minister Koca called him on the evening of the police violence and that they talked for 49 minutes.

“Minister Koca said, ‘I am calling to express my sorrows, I am sorry.’ I thank him here,” Köksal said. 

The professor said that he conveyed the complaints of the doctors to Minister Koca and that the minister promised to follow up on the issue. 

Medical employees in Turkey have long complained about inhumane working conditions such as 36-hour-long shifts, violence against them by patient relatives and insufficient pay.

Several doctors have left Turkey and moved abroad, seeking better conditions.

The head of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, also took the stage during the press conference.

“As we increase our struggle to protect the white of our apron, unfortunately, we have also faced hostile, marginalizing and criminalizing attempts. We will continue to walk on our path until we get our rights in this struggle,” Fincancı said.