Erdogan’s poor response to coronavirus poses a huge risk to the whole region
Turkey confirmed yesterday 3,892 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total of COVID-19 cases in the country up to 34,000. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca stated that 76 more patients died of the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours with the death toll reaching 725. Koca also said Turkey has performed 222,868 coronavirus tests so far, including 20,023 in the past day, but the real number of infections can be extremely higher. “We increased our test capacity. We expect the number of daily tests to exceed 30,000 next week,” the minister said after the polemics of previous weeks.
Some 1,582 patients have recovered and have been discharged from hospitals, while 1,474 patients remain in intensive care in Turkey with the occupancy rate of intensive care units at 62%-63%. Daily coronavirus infections in Turkey – the world’s eighth-worst hit country by the number of active cases – have risen for the sixth consecutive day in the silence of the press and social networks controlled by the Recep Tayyip Erdogan regime. Some videos circulated online show the repression of civilians and journalists once again applied by Erdogan, while Europe accused Turkish state actors of disinformation against the Union in a report.
False and distorted health information continues to circulate widely in the social media, while COVID-19 is nurturing anti-EU discourses and criticism towards the EU, also more publicly. The EU said, calling Ankara to respect the freedom of the press. In Turkey, fake cures such as “drinking pure alcohol” or the idea that “Turkish genes are immune to the virus” continue to circulate on online platforms. Hundreds of journalists have been imprisoned from the beginning of the emergency from Turkish authorities trying to downplaying the epidemic.
The Health minister continues to dismiss what he describes as rumours about a high mortality rate among patients under the age of 60, noting that only 10% of cases under 60, excluding those with comorbid conditions, died due to COVID-19 but the situation still unclear because of the lack of transparency in the information platforms. Koca also announced that a new mobile application has been developed to monitor infected patients and their mobility, an app that risks to become another tool of repression in the hands of Erdogan controlling his citizens.
While many countries, where the numbers of the infected are gradually stabilizing, are preparing to gradually reopen, the Turkish government’s bad response to COVID-19 represents a real threat for the whole region. Erdogan, directly engaged in failed military adventures in Libya and Syria, is neglecting the internal problems with an increasingly concrete risk of bringing the national economy and, consequently, the European economy, to collapse also.