Turkish healthcare workers go on strike after cardiologist shot dead

Healthcare workers in Turkey have begun a two-day strike to demand better working conditions after a doctor was fatally attacked.

Protesters took to the streets in several Turkish cities on Thursday to call for more action to prevent violence.

The strike comes one day after cardiologist Dr Ekrem Karakaya was shot dead at a hospital in the central city of Konya on Wednesday.

Karakaya was reportedly killed by a man who blamed him for his mother’s death. The gunman is also believed to have shot the doctor’s secretary before killing himself.

In Istanbul, police used tear gas and pepper gas to disperse healthcare workers, who tried to march to the office of the local health authority to denounce the attack.

The country’s health minister, meanwhile, was booed during 47-year-old Karakaya’s funeral.

The shooting in Konya came amid increased attacks on health professionals in Turkey, mostly by patients or their relatives. At least 316 health care workers were victims of violence in 2021, according to the Health and Social Workers Union, Saglik-Sen.

Many health professionals are leaving Turkey in the hopes of finding better working conditions and quality of life, according to the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).

Turkey is in the midst of a cost of living where inflation is running at nearly 80%, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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