Health workers exhausted in face of Ankara's failure to manage pandemic

Turkey's healthcare workers on April 15 held demonstrations across the country in protest of the government's COVID-19 policy. They said that the government's failure in managing the pandemic had taken them to the verge of exhaustion.

Health workers protested the government's COVID-19 policy at the Ulus Square in Ankara.

Duvar English

Healthcare workers on April 15 gathered in several cities across Turkey, demanding better working conditions and calling on the government to change its COVID-19 policy.

The protest was organized under the leadership of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).

Members of several health organizations, including the Turkish Dental Association, the Turkish Pharmicsts' Association, Trade Union of Public Employees in Health and Social Services, Progressive Health Workers Association, and Turkish Nurses Association, took part in the demonstrations. 

The protest in the capital Ankara took place at the Ulus Square, which also saw the participation of TTB president Şebnem Korur Fincancı.

Fincancı said that it was “irresponsible” of the government to put the responsibility on people in terms of protecting themselves and that decisions needed to be taken in cooperation with health organizations. 

“We should struggle together; struggle against the pandemic needs solidarity. We need to undertake this struggle with all the components of the society,” she said.

Also, a press statement was read out loud by TTB General Secretary Vedat Bulut.

“Our hospitals are full of COVID-19 patients. Even with the newly opened services, the need for beds remains insufficient. No space is left in intensive care units. We are exhausted to witness new deaths every day in despair,” said the joint statement of the health organizations.

The press statement said that the current picture in terms of soaring COVID-19 infection numbers shows how unsuccessful the government's “uncontrolled normalization” process has turned out. “We are facing a pandemic that makes thousands of citizens sick every day and a bad management of the pandemic,” the statement said.

The organizations called for the closure of shopping centers, factories, ateliers and constructioın sites which encompass thousands of people. “At least 14 days, preferably 28 days, all the wheels need to be stopped except in production areas, but in a way in which employees will not suffer financially,” the press statement said.

Denizli Medical Chamber head Prof. Dr. Hakan Erbay said that the current official figures do not reflect the truth and that in reality, the number of people infected with the virus was three times higher than that.

Turkey currently ranks fourth globally in daily COVID-19 infections numbers - a five-fold jump from early March, when the government loosened social curbs in what he called a period of "controlled normalization."

Ankara has blamed lax public adherence to rules and virus variants for the surge.