Turkish gov’t committing premeditated murder with COVID-19 policies – TTB chair

Turkey on Tuesday announced long-awaited new restrictions to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus measures in the country, which is seeing a peak in infections and deaths back to levels last seen in April.

But according to Şebnem KorurFincancı, the chair of Turkey’s leading Turkish Medical Association (TTB), the new tighter measures are too little, too late.

The country’s health organisations had been calling for more comprehensive restrictions for a month to stem the spread of COVID-19, whose actual figures in Turkey are much higher than officially announced by the Health Ministry, Korur Financı told Ahval in an exclusive interview.

"The figures not like those announced by the Health Ministry every evening,’’ the TTB chair said, adding that the restrictions are entirely inadequate.

"What needs to be restricted? Social movement, any space where there is communal existence needs to be shut down or restricted, but we know that neither shopping centres nor communal venues are being shut down.’’

Turkey’s new restrictions include a partial lockdown on weekends that will take effect Nov. 20, but movement will be allowed between 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Restricted hours have been introduced for restaurants, cafes, shopping malls and hairdressers, from 10 a.m to 8 p.m. local time.

Turkey's daily coronavirus death toll hit a record high 141 on Friday, according to the Health Ministry, as the new nationwide curbs were set to take place.

Another 5,103 people were infected with the virus, the ministry said.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Saturday said the country’s COVID-19 cases had multiplied by eight in the past four months, urging citizens to remain at home unless necessary.

The TTB had called for a halt to all production, except essential services, the TTB chair said, urging for this period to be a minimum of 14 days, but ideally longer.

"Science demonstrates that the speed of outbreak can decrease by half in 28 days,’’ she said.

Korur Fincancı went on say what is happening in Turkey, particularly in the last few days, constitutes premeditated murder.

"Because it is the government’s responsibility to stave off preventable deaths and take necessary precautions,’’ according to the health official. "It is possible to speak of a premeditated murder perpetrated by the government.’’

Turkey’s real COVID-19 infections number in the 70,000s, the TTB chair said, citing data collected by TTB Central Council member İbrahim Akkurt.

Korur Financı also questioned the role of the Health Ministry founded Coronavirus Science Council when asked about a remark made by council member Tevfik Özlü that the group was not given the real pandemic numbers and sufficed to look at the Health Ministry data shared with the public.

"It is a scientific necessity for scientists to be independent,’’ she said. "And if the data is not being shared with the Council, then I would like to ask that about the function of the Science Council.’’