Turkey’s public agenda had been busy with discussions about the riots in Washington DC, as well as the ongoing struggle against the coronavirus pandemic.
Many politicians in Turkey from all political parties have reacted to the riots that started with a storming of the US Capitol on January 4.
On the other hand, the recent drop in the number of cases of coronavirus in Turkey is thought to be creating a false relief, according to some experts.
The current lockdowns are still in place for an unknown period of time, especially after the new strain of coronavirus was detected in the country.
The Health Minister and officials are still working relentlessly on the vaccination efforts.
TURKEY’S REACTIONS TO THE CAPITOL RIOTS
On Wednesday, supporters of Donald Trump protesting Congress’ certification of Joe Biden’s presidential win clashed with police, eventually breaching the Capitol building and making their way to the Senate floor.
At least five people died after protesters stormed the building, including one woman shot by Capitol Police. Democratic and Republican lawmakers have unanimously condemned the assault on the Capitol and called the riots a “coup”, a “despicable act of terrorism” and a “national embarrassment” in separate statements.
Trump, his political allies and millions of Republican citizens have for months claimed that the election on November 3 was rigged.
Extending his condolences to the families of those killed in Washington DC during riots in Capitol Hill, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that “This process in the US, which was described as the so-called ‘cradle of democracy’, really shocked all of humanity,” this Friday.
Erdogan also stated that he is hoping for a peaceful transition of presidency to Joe Biden on Jan. 20 as the outgoing President Donald Trump has said in his statement.
The spokesman for the Government Party Omer Celik has also made a statement on Thursday calling on all parties in the US to respect the democratic values and rebuffed violent protests defying election results.
Violent protests against the election results are wrong and unlawful, Celik said, adding it was illegitimate to oppose the supremacy of the democratic processes.
“Violence is never a method of seeking justice. We call on everyone to respect democratic values,” Celik said.
The spokesman went on to say that all parties in the US should accept the election outcome with maturity, adding that making democratic processes and institutions vulnerable was the greatest damage one could inflict on society.
The leader of the main opposition party Kemal Kilicdaroglu also made a statement on Twitter about the raid. He said that “It is pleasing that the issue has settled, after an unlawful civil uprising attempt, which has denied the election results in the USA, and targeted democracy. I hope that this process ends up in accordance with the election results, and in peace.”
The President of Vatan Party Dogu Perincek has also evaluated the incidents in the US during a TV interview.
In the interview Perincek said “The American dream is over. It used to be the cradle of democracy, and it used to export democracy to the outside World. That dream is now over. The dreams of ‘America brings wealth with itself, the path to prosperity is to cooperate with the USA’ is also over now. There used to be an American Nightmare, ‘they had guns and nuclear warheads, their submarines are in Persian Gulf, the 6th Fleet is in the Eastern Mediterranean’ these dreams are also over now. The images from the riot clearly shows this. The empire of the dollar has fallen.
THE LATEST ON THE PANDEMIC
A Turkey-wide weekend lockdown became effective on Friday as part of measures to stem a new coronavirus wave, while warnings come from experts on keeping the social distancing and masks on, and not falling for a false relief facade.
As of January 11, the number of new cases stands at 10,220 (1,003 symptomatic), and the number of deaths stands at 174.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on Twitter that there had been a 40% drop in the caseload of both Istanbul and the Aegean province Izmir, as well as a reduction of roughly 60% both in the capital Ankara and northwestern Bursa province.
On the other hand, the World Health Organization’s European region chief thanked Turkey as the country follows its coronavirus recommendations, an official statement said on Thursday.
“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s activities and leadership are appreciated by all countries. I would like to congratulate you on your strong data and information delivery system,” Hans Kluge told Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca in a video conference.
Kluge also congratulated Turkey as the country increased the scopes of vaccine studies, rapid COVID-19 diagnostic kits, and genome sequencing studies.
“We have entered a period in which the number of cases is increasing in Europe and decreasing gradually in our country,” Koca said, adding that his country does not compromise on rapid testing, isolation, and contact tracking.
Noting that Turkey is proceeding well in developing a national vaccine, Koca said Turkey has carried out all necessary work to delay the entrance of new mutation to the country.
As new opportunities of production come into play, the BioNTech vaccine capacity allocated to Turkey will rise, the health minister said on Thursday.
“We discussed the latest planning on the arrival of the BioNTech vaccine to our country with Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin, who is the co-founder of BioNTech, and his team,” Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.
“At our meeting, we also discussed how we can increase the number of vaccine doses allocated to us. As the new opportunities of production come into play, the vaccine capacity allocated to Turkey will increase,” he added.
In December, the minister had already announced that the country would purchase up to 30 million doses of the vaccine developed by Germany-based firm BioNTech.
Turkey also planned to receive a total of 50 million doses of China’s SinoVac vaccine in the first months of the year, according to earlier statements.
Koca went on to say that negotiations for adenovirus-based vaccines developed in Russia and England are also ongoing.
The minister said the vaccine is sufficiently safe and effective according to the results of research and studies that Turkish scientists conducted.
The Urgent Use Approval process, which will be granted once the necessary tests are completed, has been started accordingly, he added.
Over 10,000 volunteers have received 17,700 doses of vaccine so far, and the results are still being observed, Koca said.
He said it was found out as a result of Phase 1 and 2 studies that the vaccine is safe to be applied to the elderly, people who are 60 or above, who were not included in the Phase 3 studies.
As the dispatches of the vaccines are received, citizens will be vaccinated according to the risk order determined by the Science Committee, Koca added.
The vaccination is planned to be applied in two doses, with the second dose to be applied 28 days after the first.