ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News

Amid the activities of recent days, ranging from the anticipation of the indictment in the Ergenekon case, on the one hand, and the mourning for three young police officers, on the other, an advertisement slamming the government was inserted in a number of major newspapers.
The ads informed the public that the country's veterinarians protest policies put in place by the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government, regarding the safety of food supply and the treatment of veterinarians. �We protest the AKP government that endangers livestock health and production, food security and human health, as well as condemns veterinarians working in public institutions to hunger due to an unjust salary system,� the ads, signed by the Turkish Veterinary Association, told the public.
�The authorities do not see these issues as having priority. Insignificant issues become significant in this country, while significant ones are made insignificant,� Mehmet Alkan, the head of the Turkish Veterinarians' Association, told the Turkish Daily News.

Low salaries
For two years, the association has urged authorities to improve working conditions and salaries of veterinarians in public institutions. Although the officials and Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker have responded positively to the demands of the veterinarians, there is no concrete action to bring about improvements, said Alkan. �Other similar professional groups received additional payments to resolve problems, but we could not get it,� he said. Veterinarians work in very hard conditions and risk exposure to contagious diseases, Alkan added. A newly employed veterinarian in a public institution is paid some YTL 1,100, while a veterinarian working for 25 years receives only YTL 1,300, he said. The association first thought to organize a demonstration, but later decided on publishing advertisements because of the hot weather and other important developments in the country.

Press conference on ticks
The association will also hold a press conference Tuesday about the deadly Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever, or CCHF, which is spread through tick bites. Alkan also criticized the government for not taking action to protect the public from ticks. �Because of the current system, the organizational structure of the ministries and legislation, we are sitting with our hands tied,� he said.