Turkey: Medics stage one-day strike over doctor shooting


Health union members protest over Friday’s fatal shooting of a doctor in northern Turkey

ISTANBUL – Turkish doctors are staging a one-day strike to highlight violence against physicians after a gunman shot a medic dead on Friday.

“Today we mourn for Dr. Kamil Furtun who died of a gunshot while on duty on May 29 in Samsun,” said Alper Alici, head of the Istanbul branch of the Turkish Health union, in a public statement read aloud in Uskudar on Monday.

Statements condemning the shocking killing are being read out publicly across Turkey by health union members.

Saying that doctors deserve personal security as well as better working conditions, Alici said: “Health employees working in Turkey are worried about their safety.”

“We repeatedly warned the authorities against the violence targeting doctors, but they continued to underestimate us and refused to take any strict measures,” he said.

Fifty-six-year-old Kamil Furtun was shot dead on Friday in a hospital in the northern province of Samsun by a 30-year-old man who claimed to have psychological problems.

Identified as Ismail K., the suspect was detained by police with the gun just hours after the killing.

“I got bored. I have such hobbies. I like it [killing]; that is why I shot him,” Ismail K. told journalists as he was being detained, according to local media.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu strongly condemned the attack, promising to take steps to end the violence against doctors.

Recalling the murder of Dr. Ersin Arslan, who was stabbed to death by the relative of a patient in 2012 in Istanbul, Alici said: “Nothing has changed since then.”

“The amount of violence against health professionals has increased in recent years. It is not the first murder and will not be the last if strict measures are not taken,” Alici added.