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Turkey’s Doctors Are Leaving the Country Because of Inflation

Turkey’s doctors are leaving en masse to escape the country’s inflation. Credit: William Neuheisel, CC BY-SA 2.0

Turkish doctors are emigrating from Turkey in unprecedented numbers due to the effects of inflation on the country.

While inflation has severely impacted Turkey’s economy, it has also had profound effects on the country’s culture, ramping up violence and instability.

Doctors are leaving the country en masse due to minimum wage salaries and instances of violence: an assistant doctor left the profession altogether after being stabbed in the stomach and hand by a patient. A pregnant nurse was kicked in the stomach by an enraged patient.

Over 1,400 Turkish doctors have left their jobs in the country for work internationally in 2021, according to the Turkish Medical Association.

“Three years ago, I would have said the salary was fair, but now it is not,” said Dr. Furkan Cagri Koral, to the New York Times. Koral is a junior doctor  who decided to leave Turkey just two years after graduating medical school. “Doctors in Turkey are working at the level of slave labor considering the workload and the risks they are taking,”

Koral left Turkey for Germany, where he studied German for nearly a year until he got a job as an assistant doctor in Chemnitz. Koral is now getting ready for an equivalency exam so he can practice medicine in Germany.

Inflation in Turkey a result of monetary policies of President Erdogan

Inflation in Turkey reached a staggering 48.7% last month, after a previous high of 36% in December. But some experts suspect that the true rate may even surpasses these numbers:

“There are groups of academics who have come up with a technical measure of inflation. Their measurement was close to 60% [in December]. This creates a huge burden on society at large,” said Durmus Yilmaz.

The Turkish lira suffered the worst year it has had against other currencies during 2021; now, the dire economic situation in the country shows the reality of its currency crisis, which was created by the president’s unorthodox interest rate-cutting policies.

Turkish Statistical Institute data showed on Monday that in the month of December alone, consumer prices in Turkey reached double digit inflation, rising 13.58%, causing havoc for the household budgets of its people, who were forced to queue for bread in some places — while Greeks lined up in stores near the border to purchase Christmas bargains due to the relative strength of the euro.

The consumer price index computed annually was even greater than the projections of a Reuters poll forecast of 30.6%. Meanwhile, must-have items such as food and transportation rose even faster, Reuters says.

The Turkish lira lost a staggering 44% of its value last year as Erdogan ordered the central bank of the country to cut interest rates deeply in a program to prioritize credit and exports over currency strength and price stability.

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