Accord­ing to the arti­cle by Fun­da­nur Öztürk pub­lished on BBC Türkçe on Decem­ber 7 2017, 1100 grad­u­ates in med­i­cine who were sup­posed to begin their 2 year com­pul­so­ry ser­vice have not yet start­ed work­ing, because inves­ti­ga­tions opened against them under the emer­gency law have not been final­ized yet.

Turkey has a rule of 2 years of com­pul­so­ry ser­vice for new doc­tors. Tra­di­tion­al­ly, assign­ments were drawn by lot tak­ing into account wish­es expressed. Now, the state of emer­gency and its inquisi­to­r­i­al bureau­cra­cy makes the deci­sions, as it were…

In order to sur­vive while await­ing the deci­sion that will mark the begin­ning of their careers, these med­ical doc­tors must fall back on jobs for unqual­i­fied work­ers such as super­mar­ket cashier, con­struc­tion work­er or drug­store clerk…

On Novem­ber 29 2016, decrees n°676 and n°657 mod­i­fied the law con­cern­ing civ­il ser­vants pri­or to their hir­ing: “a secu­ri­ty inves­ti­ga­tion and archival search in order to exam­ine the can­di­dates’ background.”

Pri­or to this, save for doc­tors work­ing in areas cov­ered by State secret, med­ical doc­tors received their assign­ments and began work­ing upon leav­ing the Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine, with­in a max­i­mum delay of two months.

Changes wrought under the state of emer­gency for the hir­ing of civ­il ser­vants thus affect doc­tors also. Approx­i­mate­ly 1100 doc­torrs who received their diplo­mas last June and July, have been wait­ing for six months for the results of the secu­ri­ty inves­ti­ga­tions and the long-await­ed favor­able decision…

The Min­istry of Health states that “The delays are due to the required secu­ri­ty inves­ti­ga­tions, fol­low­ing which assign­ments will be announced.”

But some uncon­firmed doc­tors are wor­ried as oth­ers from the same class­es have already been con­firmed. They explain the finan­cial and men­tal dif­fi­cul­ties they are expe­ri­enc­ing as they are sub­ject­ed to seri­ous social pres­sure from their fam­i­lies and neighbors.

Some of these doc­tors tes­ti­fied anony­mous­ly as they are still in the wait­ing period.

We would be ashamed to hire a doctor for this job”

A woman doc­tor, assigned to a hos­pi­tal, has been await­ing the deci­sion for six months. In tears, she explains that her moth­er who suf­fers from a heart con­di­tion, fell ill dur­ing this period.

Dur­ing the wait­ing peri­od, my moth­er fell ill and had heart surgery. She stayed in inten­sive care for a long time, we were afraid we would lose her. When she came to after a few days, the first thing she said when she opened her eyes was: ‘Did you get your assignment?’ ” 

The young doc­tor adds that because of the urgent nature of her moth­er’s con­di­tion, she had to resort to a pri­vate hos­pi­tal, but could­n’t afford fol­low-up after her moth­er went home. She says she then start­ed look­ing for oth­er work, with­out wait­ing any longer.

I went to a drug­store I knew was look­ing for a clerk. They said “we would be ashamed to hire a doc­tor for this work”, and did­n’t hire me. So I start­ed look­ing at the ads in the paper for super­mar­ket cashier, wait­ress… I have friends work­ing as con­struc­tion work­ers while they wait for their assignment.” 

I feel very bad­ly. Because I stud­ied all those years for my moth­er. I want­ed to be a doc­tor because I knew doc­tors had work the minute they received their diplo­ma. I want­ed to help my fam­i­ly finan­cial­ly. We’ve lived for years with finan­cial problems.” 

She explains she is con­stant­ly “accused” by rel­a­tives and peo­ple around her because her assign­ment has­n’t been con­firmed yet. “Even in my dreams, I see myself as guilty now”, she adds.

Anoth­er doc­tor assigned to the hos­pi­tal in Şan­lıur­fa, mar­ried since last month, speaks of sim­i­lar dif­fi­cul­ties and adds that when he applies for oth­er jobs, he is told “We can’t hire a doc­tor for this job.”

As a 28 year old adult who spent years study­ing, you must be able to pro­vide for your fam­i­ly. If I have to, I’m ready to work as a porter. I’m drown­ing in debt. Believe me, I’m in a state of depres­sion, as are many of my col­leagues. I’m con­vinced that if this wait­ing peri­od goes on any longer, suicdes will start hap­pen­ing. For the past six months, we haven’t dared leave our homes, or go out among people.” 

Are you sure your fiancé is really a doctor?”

Anoth­er doc­tor hold­ing a diplo­ma from Siva Uni­ver­si­ty, tes­ti­fies. A child from a fam­i­ly of eight chil­dren, he also made a lot of sac­ri­fices in order to study.

The fam­i­ly is in a very bad way, finan­cial­ly. My father took his pen­sion when I fin­ished my stud­ies because we thought I would start work­ing right away and take over. Now my father has to work again. He is 65 years old and works as a labor­er on a con­struc­tion site in Istanbul.

Since I was­n’t receiv­ing my assign­ment, I thought of tak­ing on oth­er work. But we decid­ed against it (as a fam­i­ly). We’re afraid the neigh­bors will say “He claims he’s a doc­tor but he does oth­er work. Is he a liar?” In the end, my fiancée’s fam­i­ly start­ed ask­ing her “Are you sure he fin­ished his stud­ies in the Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine? He would­n’t be try­ing to fool us, by any chance?” Her par­ents thor­ough­ly regret allow­ing her to become engaged to me. I’m ter­ri­bly ashamed but there’s noth­ing I can do about it.” 

The young doc­tor express­es the wor­ries of almost all the doc­tors with whom jour­nal­ist Fun­da­nur Öztürk spoke : the fear of nev­er receiv­ing their assign­ment. This fear rests on the fact only 6 000 doc­tors have received their assign­ments and begun work­ing dur­ing this peri­od. The doc­tors still wait­ing for theirs see that some sources refer to them as “sus­pi­cious persons”.

What is lack­ing in us as com­pared to our friends who received their assign­ments, we don’t know. We can­not get any offi­cial expla­na­tion. We don’t know of what we are “sus­pect­ed”. Some say in our stead that we are mem­bers or sym­pa­thiz­ers of FETÖ, oth­ers say of the PKK.” 

I was nicknamed ‘Doctor-waitress’ ”

Fun­da­nur also met a woman doc­tor who received a belat­ed assign­ment. She explains that she now works in a pub­lic hos­pi­tal in Istan­bul, but worked as a wait­ress while she wait­ed for her assignment.

After extreme­ly exhaust­ing years of study­ing med­i­cine, most of us are ide­al can­di­dates for depres­sion. I suf­fered from anx­i­ety that great­ly dis­turbed me dur­ing this peri­od. I lit­er­al­ly made myself sick over the fear the deci­sion would nev­er come. I could­n’t stand the wait­ing at home, so I start­ed work­ing as a wait­ress. In the shop where I worked for three months, they made fun of me, call­ing me ‘Doc­tor-wait­ress’.”


Urfa’s HDP Deputy, Osman Bay­demir, raised the ques­tion of the delays in doc­tors’ assign­ments in Par­lia­ment on Decem­ber 5th.

The doors are also shut in the private health sector

The doc­tors under­line the fact that undue delays in final­iz­ing the secu­ri­ty inves­ti­ga­tions with­in rea­son­able delays for all also cuts them off from oth­er rights. Two doc­tors who were assigned in Şan­lıur­fa and Mersin, explain this addi­tion­al consequence.

When we arrive in the hos­pi­tals, our friends who were assigned before us  have got­ten  the assign­ments in the best ser­vices. Those who get their assign­ments first ask to be ‘fam­i­ly doc­tors’ in the dis­tricts and get the job. Our col­leagues who were assigned before we were look at us with sus­pi­cion, we hear this and feel it.

Also note­wor­thy, dur­ing this wait­ing peri­od, we have no social secu­ri­ty, in case of ill­ness, we must pay for our care. We are doc­tors and we can’t ben­e­fit from health care.” 

All the doc­tors met by the jour­nal­ist advo­cat­ed the need for the pub­li­ca­tion of results of the secu­ri­ty inves­ti­ga­tions simul­ta­ne­ous­ly for all doctors.

Com­pul­so­ry two year ser­vice in a State estab­lish­ment is manda­to­ry for all doc­tors in Turkey. Being denied assign­ment and not serv­ing the two year peri­od in a pub­lic hos­pi­tal clos­es the doors to prac­tice in a pri­vate hos­pi­tal also.

No deci­sion or an unfa­vor­able one, means no more job…

This arti­cle brings to light the fact that all sec­tors are affect­ed by the state of emer­gency and its cohort of sus­pi­cions and purges. The pub­lic health sec­tor, already strong­ly affect­ed by an omnipresent pri­vate sys­tem, also finds its staff “grad­ed” and affect­ed by the polit­i­cal polar­iza­tion. The con­se­quences on the main par­ties, the new­ly grad­u­at­ed doc­tors who are not always from the upper class­es, cre­ate a down­grad­ing and a mar­gin­al­iza­tion as “poten­tial suspects”.

These germs of social divi­sion, sup­port­ed by the arbi­trari­ness of a revised State appa­ra­tus, encour­age demor­al­iza­tion, sub­mis­sive­ness and fear, even in the more edu­cat­ed social sta­ta des­tined for the for­mer Kemal­ist elevator.

By 2023, Turkey “won’t look very well”!

Français : Turquie • 1100 médecins à la rue, sans affec­ta­tion Cliquez pour lire

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