Cancer patient hospitalized after minister’s ill-timed gesture
EDİRNE – Doğan News Agency
The young woman, 23-year-old Dilek Özçelik, was waiting for the minister in front of Selimiye Mosque in the Thracian province of Edirne to ask for help in acquiring medicine from abroad, but the minister’s move to merely offer her pocket change left her offended and in tears. DHA photoThe Edirne Governor’s Office has hospitalized a cancer patient who was offended when Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar put some money in her hand after she asked April 14 for help for her treatment.
The young woman, 23-year-old Dilek Özçelik, was waiting for the minister in front of Selimiye Mosque in the Thracian province of Edirne to ask for help in acquiring medicine from abroad, but the minister’s move to merely offer her pocket change left her offended and in tears.
Bayraktar was on his way to pray at the historical mosque when Özçelik, who had appeared to have been receiving chemotherapy treatment, approached him. She took his hand, desperately requesting help with the supply of her medicine from abroad. A little bit confused, Bayraktar put some money in her pocket. “Take this money. What else can I do? Buy it yourself. Don’t drop the money from your pocket,” he told her.
“I was misunderstood. I am not a beggar. I have been disappointed about human kindness again. I can see that you never experienced what it feels like to be helpless,” she said, bursting into tears.
“Let me help you, my daughter, what do you want?” the minister asked, but the woman ran away.
Bayraktar told reporters that he did not mean to offend the woman, adding that Edirne Gov. Hasan Duruer would personally attend to the supply of her medicine.
Ministry defends minister’s gesture
Meanwhile, the Environment and Urban Planning Ministry said in a written statement that Bayraktar did not cause the woman to cry but instead aided her, Anatolia news agency reported.
“Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar helped a girl who asked for help crying during his Edirne visit. Bayraktar also gave instructions to Edirne Gov. Hasan Duruer to find a solution to the [girl’s] problems,” said the ministry in a statement.
“Hasan Duruer has invited the student to the governor’s office and promised to do what’s necessary. It is saddening that despite Mr. Minister’s promise to help, the issue was reflected in the press as if ‘the minister’s response had made the student cry,’” the statement said.