Data compiled by doctors working on the ground in the provinces of Amed (Diyarbakır) and Urfa suggests there may be significantly more Covid-19 cases than Turkish officials have publicly admitted. The research published in a report by Deutsche Welle earlier this week , raises serious questions about Turkey’s response to the Coronavirus epidemic.
The southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır and Urfa are each recording an average of some 300 new cases daily, but the Turkish authorities claim that infections in the entire region, which includes a total of nine provinces, are far less than that number, the head of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB)’s Diyarbakır branch Elif Turan said, according to DW.
“Our colleagues in the field give us different information. There are 300 new cases per day in Diyarbakır. Our friends in Urfa are talking about 300-350 new cases daily. Even the number of new daily cases in Diyarbakır and Urfa alone is much higher than the one announced for the whole region,” Turan said.
Meanwhile, official figures published by the Turkish state claim to only have had 900 cases in the entirety of Turkey. As part of efforts to resurrect its struggling economy, Turkey lifted lockdown restrictions earlier in June.
According to Hüseyin Yaviç, the head of TTB’s branch in the eastern province of Van: “Even though the COVID-19 outbreak was not fully under control, many restrictions were lifted, mainly due to economic concerns.” He added that, “the number of daily cases had dropped, thanks to the measures, but started to increase again as life returned to normal.”
The drive to put profit ahead of people’s safety is clearly a threat to the safety of people in Turkey and occupied Kurdistan. Reports also suggest the regime in Turkey may be deliberately sabotaging public health measures in majority-Kurdish regions.
European states like Germany and the UK, have also pushed to re-open Turkey as a popular tourism destination. These cynical efforts to prop up companies like TUI and major airlines involve downplaying the serious risk of Covid-19 in Turkey. This might have serious repercussions for British and German tourists’ safety and increase the virus’ spread globally.
Questions also remain about the effectiveness of the British government’s own response to Covid-19. This means that re-opening tourism to Turkey might also increase the risk of the virus spreading further in Turkey.
It is not safe to holiday in Turkey but it is also completely unethical, as the Turkish tourism industry directly funds the dictatorship in Ankara. To learn more about our Don’t Holiday In Turkey campaign and what you can do to support us click here.