On Thursday, a Turkish opposition lawmaker named Hasan Bitmez passed away at the age of 54 in Ankara City Hospital. This tragic event occurred two days after he suffered a heart attack and collapsed while delivering a speech in front of the parliament. During his speech, Bitmez criticized the government’s stance on Israel.
Bitmez, a member of the Felicity (Saadet) Party, was also the chairman of the Centre for Islamic Union Research. He had a background in Islamic studies, having graduated from Cairo’s Al Azhar University. Married and a father of one, Bitmez had previously worked for Islamic non-governmental organizations.
The incident took place during a parliamentary session where Bitmez, standing at the podium, accused President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party of maintaining trade relations with Israel despite the conflict in Gaza. He placed a banner on the podium reading “Murderer Israel; collaborator AKP.” Bitmez strongly condemned the government for its economic ties with Israel during its military actions in Gaza.
As he finished his speech, Bitmez suddenly collapsed on the floor. Other Members of Parliament rushed to his aid, and he was later transferred to the hospital. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca revealed that an angiography showed two main veins in his heart were completely blocked.
Bitmez’s criticism focused on the government’s economic relations with Israel during the Gaza conflict, where he accused them of being complicit in the violence. His remarks drew criticism from members of the AK Party. It’s worth noting that Bitmez was associated with the small Islamist Saadet Party, which had joined the main opposition bloc in the May presidential elections, supporting Kemal Kilicdaroglu against President Erdogan, who ultimately won the elections. The alliance allowed Saadet Party deputies like Bitmez to secure seats in parliament.