Turkey’s medical staff go on two-day strike demanding better pay and conditions

ISTANBUL, Feb. 17 (DPA/EP) –

Turkey’s medical staff have started a two-day strike on Thursday in protest against the low wages they receive and in demand of an improvement in their working conditions.

From the Hekim Sen medical union, which includes professionals from the family and emergency fields, they have confirmed the beginning of the temporary cessation of their professional activities in the framework of the economic and financial crisis that is plaguing the country.

“The doctors are on strike because they do not work in humane conditions”, they have transferred from the union through their social networks, where they criticize the low wages, the high workload and an escalation in violence carried out by patients.

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For its part, the Seglik Sen union has denounced that, throughout the past 2021, a total of 190 episodes of violence were confirmed in which 316 health workers were attacked.

Turkey is suffering from a series of financial problems stemming from the highest inflation in the last 20 years, while the cost of energy, food and other essential needs is rising.

In this context, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, argued on Wednesday that high inflation is something “temporary” and recognized that citizens should put up with this situation for a little longer.

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Due to working conditions, worsened by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, many Turkish doctors have chosen to leave the country. The Turkish Medical Association has detailed that in 2021 more than 1,400 doctors emigrated.

The main destination is Germany, which received 197 doctors in January alone, followed by the United Kingdom, France and the United States, according to the organization’s vice president, Vedat Bulut, who has also denounced that a doctor in his first professional years receives a salary below what is considered the poverty line.

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