In a startling incident at the Turkish Parliament, Hasan Bitmez, a 53-year-old lawmaker, collapsed suddenly during a session. Bitmez, representing the Saadet Party as the Deputy from Kocaeli, had just concluded a fervent speech, moments before he collapsed on the floor of the General Assembly Hall in Ankara. His speech had touched on intense topics, including strong statements about Israel.
Footage from the scene captured the dramatic moment Bitmez faltered and fell to the ground, immediately drawing the attention and assistance of fellow parliamentarians. Turhan Çömez, a member of the Kemalist İYİ Party and a medical professional, was reportedly among the first to offer aid.
Following the incident, Bitmez was rushed to Bilkent City Hospital in Ankara. His condition was reported as critical, prompting Temel Karamollaoğlu, the chairman of Saadet, to appeal to the public for prayers for Bitmez’s recovery. Turkish Health Minister Dr. Fahrettin Koca provided an update, confirming Bitmez’s disturbance during his speech and his ongoing treatment in the intensive care unit.
Bitmez, a family man with a spouse and child, was elected to his parliamentary role in the elections held on May 14, 2023. He is a member of Saadet, an Islamist political party in Turkey, formed in the wake of the banning of the Virtue Party in 2001 for violating secular principles of the Turkish constitution. Saadet emerged as the hardliner faction, in contrast to the reformists who established the Justice and Development Party (AKP), currently led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Turkey, predominantly Muslim, is governed by secular and progressive principles established by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in the early 20th century. The recent escalation of conflict between Israel and Hamas has strained Turkey-Israel relations, leading to the recall of ambassadors from both nations. Erdoğan, known for his conservative leanings, has recently adopted a more critical stance towards Israel, contributing to the tense political climate.
The situation in Gaza remains a humanitarian concern, with reports of severe shortages in essential supplies. Turkey has committed to providing aid, with Health Minister Koca announcing the dispatch of medical supplies, generators, ambulances, and field hospitals to Gaza. The conflict, which has intensified since October, has resulted in significant casualties on both sides, highlighting the urgent need for resolution and humanitarian assistance.