After the Turkish government surprisingly issued a lockdown for 31 cities and provinces on April 10, criticism from the opposition is hailing. The curfew, limited to Saturday and Sunday, did a lot of damage because it was announced at too short notice and caused panic unnecessarily, is the tenor at the weekend. The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has ineffectually outstripped its own efforts to curb Covid-19 proliferation through social distancing and voluntary exit restrictions. The government, on the other hand, thanked the population, saying that only a few people have violated the exit ban so far.
Although the government at the beginning of the crisis gave the impression that Turkey was well prepared for the pandemic, according to official figures, more than 52,000 people have now tested positive for Covid-19. More than 1,000 people have died already. Since the test rate in the country with 83 million inhabitants is still too low, it can be assumed that the number of unreported cases is higher, as representatives of the Turkish medical profession have publicly stated.
Even supermarkets had to close at the weekend
The curfew was far-reaching: In addition to bakeries, pharmacies, old people’s homes and a few other public institutions such as the police and fire brigade, almost all public facilities, shops and even the supermarkets had been closed. It was unclear on April 12, whether the curfew would really end at midnight or could be extended. The President’s Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said: “The curfew can be prolonged.“
According to Hürriyet newspaper, a scientist from the Corona Committee of the Ministry of Health emphasized: “Of course, there may be further curfews in the coming weekends. The best way to prevent the spread of the disease is to prevent contact between people.”
The lockdown does more damage than the virus itself, the opposition criticizes
The opposition focused its criticism on the practical implementation of the measures. Engin Özkoc, politician of the social-democratic CHP, published pictures of crowds of people in front of supermarkets on Twitter and accused the government of President Erdoğan of doing more damage with the surprising lockdown than the corona virus itself. He tweeted: “You are unable to govern. ” Oguz Kaan Salici, one of the CHP’s deputy chairmen, accused the government of having overthrown all of the social-distancing behaviors that were painstakingly implemented by the population within a few hours.
These allegations are particularly important, because according to the CHP the decision on the curfew is said to has been made on April 9. The lockdown was not announced until the night of April 10, three hours before it came into effect. This had led to mass accumulations in supermarkets and chaotic panic buying. The pro-Kurdish opposition party HDP accused the government of “being responsible for a sharp increase in the number of corona cases and corona deaths”.
There was also criticism from those who have to implement the measures. Immediately after the announcement, Istanbul’s mayor Ekrem Imamoglu announced that even he, as head of a metropolis of 16 million inhabitants, had not been informed in advance. Government policies only create “more panic and confusion.” Imamoglu himself had asked for exit restrictions some time ago. The government had rejected this.