(LibertySociety.com) – A member of the Turkish Parliament has died after suffering a heart attack immediately following a contentious floor speech on December 12. Legislators were reportedly working on the next year’s budget, but it was unclear whether the lawmaker’s speech was directly related to budgetary matters.
Hasan Bitmez, 53, of the Islamist Saadet Partisi, criticized Turkish President Erdogan for maintaining a trade relationship with Israel amidst its retaliation against Hamas in Gaza. Although Bitmez was a diabetic and previously had two stents placed for clogged arteries in his heart, the timing of his heart attack has been widely discussed on social media. During his speech, he cautioned those who were not speaking out against Israel’s actions, insinuating that Israel was attempting to kill all Palestinians. He concluded by reciting a poem with the words, “you will not be able to escape the wrath of God.”
Bitmez then immediately fainted and banged his head on the marble floor when he hit the ground. Fellow legislators rushed to his side, with one performing first aid and CPR until he was transported to a hospital in Ankara. While there, he underwent an angioplasty after two more clogged arteries were discovered. He also received a heart massage and remained connected to machines to keep his heart pumping and his lungs functioning until he died. He left behind a wife and one child, according to Reuters. Besides his position in Parliament, he chaired the Center for Islamic Union Research.
Bitmez was part of the opposition party that failed to unseat Erdogan back in May. While he was incessantly critical of policies having to do with Israel, the Turkish government has publicly condemned Israel’s actions since the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7. Erdogan released a scathing statement on October 20 demanding that Israel “immediately stop its operations that are bordering genocide.” The Turkish Parliament held a ceremony to honor his life on December 14. His coffin was adorned with a Turkish flag and a small Palestinian flag.
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