Turkish Congressman Collapses During Speech, Suffers Heart Attack and Later Dies

Turkish lawmaker Hasan Bitmez experienced a cardiac arrest and fainted during a live broadcast while passionately expressing his views against Israel in the Turkish National Assembly on December 12.

During the deliberations on budgetary matters in Turkey’s Grand Assembly, Bitmez criticized the Israeli government’s actions against the Palestinian group Hamas. He accused Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of engaging in ethnic cleansing and committing numerous crimes against humanity. Bitmez argued that innocent Palestinians, seeking freedom and dignity, were the victims of these alleged offenses.

At the lectern, Bitmez emphasized to his fellow parliamentarians that the truth would persist despite any attempts to conceal it in history. He asserted that Jews are mistaken if they believe eliminating his people would resolve their issues, cautioning that their actions would burden them with an inescapable torment of conscience. In his final words before the heart attack and collapse, he declared that Israel would face the wrath of Allah with no means of escape.

As per preliminary accounts, the 54-year-old congressman, also the deputy chief of the Turkish Islamist party Saadet, is reported to be in critical condition. Reports from local media indicate that Turhan Comez, a fellow parliamentarian and trained physician, played a crucial role in preventing Bitmez’s demise at the podium by promptly attending to him when he collapsed. Bitmez was swiftly conveyed from the National Assembly Chamber to Ankara’s Bilkent City Hospital, where he was promptly admitted to intensive care.

Despite Comez’s efforts that may have temporarily delayed the inevitable, Bitmez ultimately passed away at Ankara City Hospital on December 21. The Turkish parliament conducted a modest ceremony to pay tribute to their departed colleague shortly thereafter.

Saadet has been regarded as the most uncompromising Islamist alternative to President Recep Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), a party that many political analysts believe is seeking to dismantle Turkey’s secularism. 

Although Saadet has aligned with Erdogan on various occasions, it took a critical stance against the Turkish government following Israel’s declaration of war. This shift occurred as Erdogan restored diplomatic relations with the Jewish state in September 2022.

Certain members of Saadet have asserted that the Turkish president should provide clarification regarding whether he intends to support what they term “Jewish colonizers” or the “innocent Muslims” facing death and oppression in Gaza. This sentiment reflects a concern within the party regarding President Erdogan’s stance on the conflict and his alignment with Israel.




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