Ankara Healthcare Workers’ Solidarity Network of ‘‘We Breathe Down the Bosses’ Neck’’ (PE), Turkey’s class solidarity network initiated by the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), invited the healthcare workers who have been struggling against the COVID-19 pandemic at the forefront since the very beginning but have been gradually stuck in a more difficult situation due to the profit-seeking policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) protecting the interests of the capitalist class, as some of them resigned and some of them had to request retirement.
Saying that the only remedy for our people is our great effort and labour to fight against the pandemic, PE Ankara Healthcare Workers’ Solidarity Network stated, ‘‘We are not alone. Let’s show each other that we are not alone. We need solidarity to stand against all injustice, irregularities and inequalities we are exposed to. We need to hear each other, be aware of what we are going through, and be the voice of those who have fallen into silence.’’
‘‘We call on all healthcare workers to contact the PE Healthcare Workers’ Solidarity Network and raise their voice about the problems they faced during the pandemic in order to increase solidarity,’’ PE also noted in its statement.
Informing that 68 healthcare workers have died since the COVID-19 pandemic has erupted in Turkey, PE stated, ‘‘We were just able to learn the real death toll among healthcare professionals amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, because Turkey’s Ministry of Health has not breathed a word about it since April 29.’’
‘‘Those who ignored that the main responsibility in combating the pandemic belongs to the public administration and government did not hesitate to leave the whole burden of the outbreak on our shoulders,’’ PE Ankara Healthcare Workers’ Solidarity Network also underlined.
‘‘Government officials, who turned the pandemic management into a ‘social media show’ and could not even provide access to personal protective equipment, have ignored scientific data and declared so-called ‘normalization’ for the benefit of a handful of profit-oriented wealthy people, causing us to lose our colleagues,’’ the statement reads.
Highlighting that it is not the COVID-19 pandemic that causes the healthcare professionals to lose their ability and patience to struggle against the outbreak but inhuman working conditions due to the Turkish government’s insufficient policies, it is said in the statement, ‘‘Those who make healthcare services a privilege rather than a fundamental right and leave it to the mercy of profit-seeking bosses, consider the right to protect our health as a cost item.’’
‘‘As healthcare workers, we are human beings. We cannot accept losing our lives as ‘anonymous’ on the government’s expense list,’’ PE added in its statement.
Reminding that healthcare workers are aware of that they have to devotedly make an extraordinary effort under unusual conditions with the consciousness of social responsibility, PE noted, ‘‘We refuse to be left to die due to this consciousness because our people will not overcome this pandemic if we work under healthy and safe conditions.’’
‘‘As autumn approaches, our fatigue and anxiety due to rising COVID-19 cases are increasing, but we are not exhausted enough to entrust our lives to a ministry under the service of a private hospital boss. We are aware that the government authorities handing the Health Ministry over to a profit-seeking hospital boss will not do us a favour.’’
‘‘We invite all healthcare professionals across the country to contact PE Healthcare Workers Solidarity Network and raise their voice about the problems faced during the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ the statement concluded.
Experts, healthcare workers combating the pandemic at the forefront, and professional associations warn that the COVID-19 cases have increased recently due to the Turkish government’s neglectful ‘‘normalization’’ policies and many healthcare professionals began to resign their jobs or request retirement due to never-ending stress and burnout.
Stating that the problems emerged with the neoliberal health transformation policies of the AKP government and the increasing workload of healthcare workers have now reached unbearable dimensions, Kubilay Yalçınkaya, Co-chair of Trade Union of Employees in Public Health and Social Services (SES), said, ‘‘The demands of the healthcare workers, who already have to work under life-threatening conditions without any necessary protective measures, have been ignored by the government authorities.’’