Cause of infection in Turkish military barracks being concealed, CHP says
Rifat Başaran – ANKARAThe authorities are concealing the results of a test conducted to diagnose the cause of an infection in a Turkish barracks that killed a soldier and hospitalized more than 1,000, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Manisa deputy Tur Yıldız Biçer has claimed.
The outbreak was detected on May 23 in the western province of Manisa after 1,046 soldiers at the First Infantry Training Brigade Command went to the emergency service with complaints of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Biçer, who is herself a doctor, visited the soldiers later at the provincial hospital and told daily Hürriyet that soldiers were infected with salmonella bacteria as a result of undercooked turkey meat on the barracks menu.
“It is now clear that the cause of the incident is undercooked turkey meat. In the test results of the soldiers, bacteria reproduction was found. I have a copy of those test results, but it is unofficial,” Biçer said, adding that the Ministry of Health has not yet released an official conclusion regarding the incident.
“The Celal Bayar University Hafsa Sultan Hospital yesterday [May 30] called the patients’ relatives and told them test results would be given. But then they were told that the Health Ministry had imposed a confidentiality decision. In hospitals there is a system that releases pathology results. You can see patient records with the ID number, but the system gives a ‘not found’ answer for these patients’ [soldiers] culture results,” she said.
Biçer stated that the Health Ministry has brought an “official confidentiality decision” for the soldiers’ test results.
“That document is very important because it is the criminal evidence that proves the illness was caused by the food. It is certain that the company [providing food services to the barracks] committed a crime,” she added.
“The sample taken from the turkey meat itself also produced salmonella. An investigation should be launched immediately. The incident is being covered up,” the CHP MP said.