2,417 doctors have left Turkey to work in Germany in 2022, according to TTB

The number of Turkish doctors immigrating from Turkey to Germany due to heavy workloads and increasing security concerns has reached 2,417, according to the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Turkish media reported.

According to the TTB, a total of 2,417 doctors have already moved to Germany to work as physicians or have completed preparations to enter the profession in Germany.

The number of doctors immigrating from Turkey to Germany and other Western countries is increasing exponentially, according to the TTB, damaging the Turkish healthcare system in the long and short term. Fifty-nine doctors left Turkey to work in Germany in 2012, 482 in 2017, 931 in 2020 and 2,417 by November 2022.

Speaking to Deutsche Welle Turkish service, Turkish doctors recently said that they prefer Germany because they can do their jobs there without fear of violence or bullying at work. They also said they feel their rights are protected by law and the state, unlike in Turkey.

Many blame the policies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and president and AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for the exodus of doctors.

Erdoğan in a speech in early March condemned the increasing number of Turkish doctors who are choosing to move to the private sector or go abroad for better job opportunities, saying they are free to go and that Turkey will find ways to make up for their loss.

After facing an angry reaction from the medical community, thousands of whose members took to the streets on the occasion of Medicine Day, marked every March 14 in Turkey, Erdoğan later praised the efforts of doctors, especially during the pandemic, and said, “Turkey is always in need of its doctors and is indebted to them.”

Erdoğan’s remarks came amid protests calling for more manageable workloads, increased security and an increase in pay due to the heavy workload caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, rising cases of physical violence against healthcare employees and soaring inflation –- registered at a 24-year high, according to official figures -– that reduce doctors’ salaries close to the minimum wage.

The doctors’ departures are a sad indictment of Erdoğan, who has burnished his own reputation by expanding universal health care over his 20 years in power. But the strains of the overhauls wrought by Erdoğan, in addition to those brought by the pandemic and increasing inflation, have undermined the very professionals on whom the health system depends.

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