Turkish physicians dismissed by gov't decrees denied certificates to be workplace doctors

Physicians who have been dismissed as a result of the state of emergency decrees (KHK) following the July 2016 coup attempt are denied the right to work as workplace doctors.

Hacı Bişkin / DUVAR

Even if they pass the relevant exam, physicians who were dismissed by state of emergency decrees (KHK) in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt are not given permission to work as workplace doctors ("işyeri hekimi") by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. 

When these doctors ask why they are told it is a result of an ongoing “security investigation.”

One doctor who asked to be referred to by his initials, F.D., who was the subject of a statutory decree, passed his exam to qualify as a workplace doctor last May. However, when he went to get the certificate that would allow him to work as a workplace doctor, he was denied by the Ministry. 

He is now working in a private medical office but is calling for the end of this practice of denying workplace licenses. 

People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a former doctor, echoed this call. Gergerlioğlu himself was dismissed from his medical post after the 2016 coup attempt. In the midst of a mass exodus of doctors from Turkey - thousands have left, especially in the past two years - Gergerlioğlu said that no qualified doctor should be denied certification.

“Doctors go abroad, they resign. The government imposes barriers on those who want to stay and work here,” he said, issuing a complaint.

F.D. pointed out that there is no link between being a workplace physician and the government - inherently, it is a service to the private sector. Therefore, he says, the Ministry has no right to deny his certificate. He is currently working in a private medical office, which is in some ways more connected to the government than if he were a doctor in a workplace - national insurance pays for the drugs he prescribes.

“I do not understand why I am prevented from working in an institution that has nothing to do with the state,” F.D. said. 

Gergerlioğlu has applied to the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission to investigate the issue. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security replied, saying that though F.D. was successful in his examination, an ongoing security investigation by the Ministry of Justice led to his application’s denial.

Gergerlioğlu says this is unconstitutional.

“This is completely unconstitutional. A regime of KHK has been established, the Constitution has been trampled on, and the presumption of innocence is ignored. People are declared terrorists without a definitive judgment on them,” he said. 

He says he will continue to fight such denials until action is taken by the government to reverse this practice. 

“I will shout with all my might. I do not accept these scandalous answers,” Gergerlioğlu said.

(English version by Erin O'Brien)