As Turkey works to fight the coronavirus pandemic, its parliament will debate a new bill meant to protect from violence the people on the fight’s front line, its healthcare workers, Anadolu Agency.
"The bill will be debated by the Justice Committee on Monday, but it might be incorporated in the penal reform bill being debated by the full parliament," Ramazan Can, lawmaker from the central Kirikkale province, said.
If it is added to the penal reform bill, it could skip the committee, he added.
The bill would strengthen penalties for violence towards healthcare workers.
Under the bill, penalties for threatening, insulting, injuring, or hindering healthcare workers from doing their duties would be increased 50%.
Can said that Turkey tried to take the best measures to stem the pandemic by highlighting the frontline fight of healthcare workers.
"We’re in a national mobilization against coronavirus. At such a time, the bill aims to dissuade people from ill-treating healthcare workers," Can said.
Turkey's “healthcare army” includes nearly half a million medical staffers and 360,000 support personnel fighting coronavirus, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a tribute to the workers this week.
"We want to give moral motivation to our healthcare workers,” said Can. “You know, there were some heedless people who in the past targeted healthcare workers with violence. We want to prevent all violations of the healthcare workers. With this measure, we clearly want to reinforce deterrence of violence towards healthcare workers."
Turkey has so far reported 38,226 COVID-19 cases, and the death toll stands at 812.