21 detained as 731 more soldiers get food poisoning in Turkey

Twenty-one employees of a catering company that provided food to a military base in Manisa province were detained after 731 soldiers were hospitalized on Saturday due to food poisoning, the Diken news website reported.

Following complaints of nausea and vomiting after dinner on Saturday, 300 soldiers were taken to hospitals and 200 were treated in a dispensary inside the military compound.

Defense Minister Fikri Işık claimed during a visit to a hospital that the contract with the catering company would be canceled, when family members of the affected soldiers complained to him. He also claimed that the poisoning could be caused by contamination of water because of the recent earthquakes in the region.

Işık said on Sunday that a total of 372 soldiers were hospitalized late Saturday after being “affected by food” and 372 were taken to hospitals.

“Now there are 72 soldiers (left) at the hospitals. No one is in life threatening condition. There is no soldier in intensive care,” he said at a news conference following a visit with soldiers at Merkezefendi State Hospital. Işık was accompanied by Commander of Turkish Land Forces Gen. Zeki Colak.

Manisa Governor Mustafa Hakan Güvencer has also said that “We cannot make an official statement now about the reason of the disease and diagnosis, we are waiting for laboratory results.”

People in Turkey have concerns that the government and the state officials are trying to cover up the repeating poising scandals which have affected thousands of soldires in a few weeks to protect a pro-government catering company.

According to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Manisa deputy Tur Yıldız Biçer, 3,000 have been affected by food poisoning. Biçer, who was visiting various hospitals, said on social media: “There are many soldiers in all of them. The soldiers who are being treated said they had eaten chicken for dinner. This is one of the country’s biggest military bases, hosting 6,000 soldiers. I can say that 3,000 are affected. Some soldiers are in critical condition.”

On May 23 more than 1,000 soldiers were hospitalized at the same military base due to food poisoning, one of whom died. Seventy soldiers were hospitalized at another base on May 27. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 18, 2017

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