Turkey’s governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) escalates its control over the country’s historical military medical academy (GATA) with Islamic impositions.
A white coat ceremony was held on Jan. 10 at Gülhane Education and Research Hospital with the attendance of female graduates wearing headscarves. Founded in 1898 during the Ottoman era as Gülhane Military Medical Academy (GATA), the historical hospital was turned into a civilian hospital linked to the Ministry of Health after the failed coup in July 2016.
As the AKP government took the control of the historical hospital, such Islamic ceremonies as reciting verses from Quran were often held at the halls of the hospital.
Talking at the recent white coat ceremony, medical Major Eray Serdar Yurdakul said, “When we were students, we often got briefings regarding [religious] reactionism at this hall. Today, Quran is recited at this hall. I remember that my friend’s mother was not let in this hall because she wore a headscarf. Today, white coat ceremonies are held, young women with headscarves are wearing coats as candidate physicians at this hall. I feel proud.”
Turkey’s leading pro-government media outlet Yeni Şafak daily reports the incident as an example of freedom, adding that the historical GATA hospital had been a stronghold of the Fethullahist Terror Organization, or FETÖ, the network of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, one of the masterminds of the coup attempt.
However, Yeni Şafak omits the fact that the AKP government and the Gülenists had a longstanding alliance in order to Islamize the state institutions including military and military hospitals like GATA.