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03/13/2020

Turkey-Iran cooperation essential in fight against Coronavirus

Turkey-Iran cooperation essential in fight against Coronavirus

Professor Ishak Rasuli, Rector of Ardabil Azadi University in Iran, answered our questions on the coronavirus outbreak. Rasuli says that Turkey has taken the necessary measures on the Iranian border but has not spared any support for Iran. He also noted that the US medical embargo threatens not only the Iranian State, but the health of its people.

There are troubling reports coming from Iran about the Coronavirus outbreak. What is the latest situation? What measures is the government taking now? Are zones being quarantined?

The Coronavirus, which began in China, has now spread to many countries. Unfortunately, it also has spread in Iran as well. Of course, after the virus appeared in the country, the process of fighting against it begann. Public awareness campaigns have been launched by the country’s leadership. Information is being spread consistently through the media. Further plans are now being made for the fight against the virus. Schools and universities are cancelled. Events where masses come together, such as football matches, movie showings and theatre performances are suspended. Those who have already been diagnosed have been quarantined.

We know that many of them were treated and recovered as the result of the quarantine process. There was no special quarantine process in cities as a whole, but all those found to be infected or are suspected to have been are now quarantined. Unfortunately, those with a weak immune system may lose their lives, but many patients have been treated and recovered after quarantine. Unfortunately, the season that we are in provides weather conditions that are very suitable for a disease. Therefore, it is important that people protect themselves.

‘CORONAVIRUS CAN BE OVERCOME WITH INTERNATIONAL STRUGGLE’

Has Iran received support from other countries fighting against the Coronavirus? What are the responsibilities of the international community in this struggle?

At first, the Chinese government announced that it would send aid to Iran. Then, a large number of requests of help came from Turkey. In this context, Turkey has taken various measures for its own security, such as the border restrictions. Of course, the Turkish government has taken measures that are understandable, but they have not offered any significant help.

The Coronavirus has foregrounded the fact that this virus can be defeated only with international solidarity. This is not just a disease that threatens only China or Iran: we know that there are numerous cases in the European countries such as Italy and the UK as well as in Arab countries. All countries must help one another in order to restrict the virus. If any one country refuses, the virus will be much more difficult to restrict.

‘THE WESTERN MEDIA HAS PLAYED WITH PUBLIC HEALTH’

When the virus first broke out, some racist rhetoric and panicked news began to spread in the Western media, especially in the US. As a communications expert, how would you evaluate this situation?

The Western media outlets are interconnected institutions. They look at situations in the other countries from a political perspective and do not reflect the truth in their reports. The Coronavirus is seen in numerous countries today, but the media exaggerates things when they discuss the problem in Iran or China. When it crops up in their own country, they broadcast it as an unimportant news. Unfortunately, the media does not have any ethics or morals. These media outlets protect the interests of the politicians instead of the interests of the public. For example, the flu epidemic in the US has taken more lives than the coronavirus, but there is no news of it. The same goes for the flu outbreaks in the West. Those who are infected with the Coronavirus have just around 2% – 3% death rate, but it is nonetheless used as a tool of fear by the Western media.

By playing with the people’s health, they are using the outbreak as a political tool. They are even blocking the medicines from reaching Iran. They are putting people’s health at risk for their own benefits and goals. The steps they are taking now target the people of their own country, not only the states they oppose. They are blocking the revenue from exporting these drugs and blocking drugs from reaching importers. This affects the public health.

‘IF THE TWO COUNTRIES UNITE, IT WILL STRENGTHEN HEARTS’

What is your message in the fight against the Coronavirus?

Turkey, Iran and China are getting closer everyday. The closer these countries get, especially Iran and Turkey, the easier it becomes to resolve problems in the region and the world. When the two countries work together, it will strengthen everyones’ hearts. Turkey and Iran have cooperated throughout history. We know that this cooperation will grow stronger and stronger in the future. The two countries especially need to cooperate when it comes to coronavirus. This is the only way positive results can be obtained, both in the region and on behalf of humanity.

 
Elif İlhamoğlu
Elif İlhamoğlu is political scientist and  journalist (Turkey). She is studying for PHD on the political science and international relations department at Istanbul University (Middle East studies). She visited Middle East countries, Syria, Lebanon, Iran several times and did interviews with the leaders as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hilal al-Hilal Secretary General of the Syrian Ba'ath Party.

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