On Tuesday (12 December), a Turkish legislator suffered a heart attack and collapsed in parliament following a live broadcast of his parliamentary speech. In his address, he had criticised Israel, asserting that it could not "escape the wrath of Allah."
Hasan Bitmez, a 53-year-old member of the conservative Felicity Party, concluded his speech at the Turkish parliament's General Assembly by stating, "we may be able to evade our conscience, but history is inescapable." He further directed a message towards the Jewish state, asserting, "The wrath of Allah cannot be avoided."
Following his statement, "I salute you all," he abruptly fell to the ground from the podium, his head hitting the floor, Times of Israel reported.
Members of the assembly quickly gathered around him. Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca stated that Bitmez was admitted to the hospital and his situation was deemed "extremely critical and severe."
Prior to Hamas's attack in southern Israel on 7 October and the subsequent war, Turkey was actively trying to improve its relationship with Israel. However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has drastically reversed course, returning to the vehement attacks that marked much of his earlier tenure as an Islamist leader.
Erdogan reaffirmed his stance last week that Hamas should not be classified as a terrorist organisation. He insisted that they should be involved in Gaza's reconstruction post-war.
This view contradicts the support Israel has garnered from the Western world to exclude the Palestinian group, which has governed the coastal region since 2007, due to their terrorist activities.
Last week, Erdogan cautioned Israel that there would be severe consequences if it sought to target Hamas members in Turkey. This warning came a few days after the disclosure of recordings where the Shin Bet security agency's chief stated that Jerusalem is resolved to eliminate group leaders globally, including in Lebanon, Turkey, and Qatar.
In early November, Turkey withdrew its ambassador from Israel for discussions concerning the Gaza war, while clarifying that this did not mean a complete severance of diplomatic relations.
After years of strained relations, the two nations finally reestablished complete diplomatic bonds in August 2022.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!