Turkish imam to face investigation for calling for violence against doctors

Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has launched an investigation on an imam in the central Anatolian Konya province for calling for violence against doctors upon a healthcare strike earlier in the week.

“Doctors say they are on strike today. Would you not kill him? Would you not beat him up?” the imam said during the Friday sermon, in the wake of a cardiologist being shot to death on duty.

The imam in question made “inappropriate comments” while on duty, the Diyanet said in a statement, condemning him.

An inspector has already been sent to Konya to carry out the investigation, the religious body said.

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) said the imam’s comments were “incitement to violence, murder, even massacres”, calling on the Diyanet and courts to take action.

Doctors and healthcare staff in the country went on a two-day strike ahead of the Eid al-Adha holidays to protest their worsening working conditions and violence they face, especially in emergency rooms.

Cardiologist Ekrem Karakaya was killed in a hospital in Konya on Wednesday by a man who blamed him for the death of his sick relative. The killer later took his own life.

In 2021 there were 190 acts of violence against healthcare workers, targeting 361 members of the medical community in a 62 percent rise in recorded incidents compared to the previous year.

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