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03/30/2020

Last week in Turkey: Will “Voluntary quarantine” be effective?

Last week in Turkey: Will “Voluntary quarantine” be effective?

Until today, 131 people had died of the Coronavirus, the total number of confirmed Coronavirus cases had reached 9,217 and 1,815 more people had been tested positive with the virus in the past 24 hours, as the Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced on twitter.

NEW MEASURES AGAINST THE OUTBREAK

According to the official announcements, a total of 105 patients have recovered and been discharged from the hospital since the beginning of the outbreak, and 568 patients are being treated at intensive care units.

In Turkey, over 65,446 tests have been carried out testing for the virus; tensions are high.

The Coronavirus Scientific Advisory Board set up by the Ministry of Health has announced that the outbreak will reach its peak in Turkey within the next two weeks.

After this statement of the Scientific Advisory Board, the Ministry of the Interior took some additional measures against the Covid-19;

– The sale of non-essential items and the unpackaged food will not be allowed in market places.

– At least three meters of distance will be left between the stalls to reduce the density in marketplaces.

– Tourists within the nation will be tested for high fever and coughing, with systems set up at the inlets and the outlets of cities.

That same day, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the nation and declared a limitation on national travel and the suspension of all flights to and from Turkey.

According to Erdogan’s announcement, inter-city travel will only be permitted through approval from the local government authorities.

At the end of his speech, Erdogan repeated his call on the citizens to undergo a “voluntary quarantine.”

DEBATES ON THE VOLUNTARY QUARANTINE

From the beginning of the outbreak in Turkey, despite the opposition’s calls, authorities have avoided announcing a curfew as a measure and continue to call the citizens to apply a voluntary quarantine instead.

In his last speech Erdogan was asked “What does voluntary quarantine mean?” to which Erdogan replied, “It means, we will not go out of our homes.”

After all these measures and calls for “voluntary” isolation, workers continue to go to work, large factories are still open and production continues.

Some scientific authorities consider this situation extremely risky.

The opposition party’s leaders continue their calls for the government to apply a curfew as soon as possible.

However, everybody knows that the economic situation in Turkey was not stable even before the outbreak and now it has become more severe.

“I cannot say that there is no need for a curfew,” said Suleyman Soylu, the Minister of Interior.

As Soylu’s expression shows, even the government is aware of the risks of not declaring a curfew, but the economic conditions push the government to keep its position of the voluntary quarantine.

Nobody knows how severe the spread rate of outbreak will be in the upcoming weeks.By not declaring a curfew, the Turkish authorities have made a risky gamble.

The situation in Italy and in Spain is playing out before the entire world. Neoliberal politics are forcing the governments to put the economic measures above human life, with disastrous results.

Let us add to that the economic measures announced by Erdogan from the beginning of the crisis predominately protect employers rather than the employees, according to economists.

In Turkey, the government has come to a major crossroads, and must choose either to stop serving capital and to take a stance in favor of positive public policies, or face the severe healthcare consequences of a pandemic. The second possibility will have extremely negative political and social consequences.

Onur Sinan Güzaltan
Onur Sinan Güzaltan was born in Istanbul in 1985. He had his Bachelors's degree in Law, from the Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne Universty /Paris XII and a Master's degree in International and European Law.He got his certificate of diploma equivalence at Galatasaray University. Later, he got a Master's degree in International Trade Law, at the Institut de Droit des Affaires Internationales, founded jointly by the Sorbonne Universty and the Cairo Universty.In this process, he had served as the Cairo representative for the Aydinlik Newspaper. He has several articles and television streams within the international press, in such as People's Daily, Al Yaum, Al Ahram, Russia Today FranceAl Youm Al Sabea. In addition to being the author of the Tanrı Bizi İster Mi?, a work that studies the 2011-2013 political period in Egypt, he had also contributed to the multi-author study titled Ortadoğu Çıkmazında Türkiye, with an article that focused on the Turkish-Egyptian relations. While currently working as a lawyer, he also writes a weekly column for Aydinlik Newspaper on the subject of international politics and geopolitics.

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