Erdoğan's coronavirus economic stimulus package receives mixed reactions

A 100 billion lira ($15.4 billion) aid package to help Turkey's economy cope with the global coronavirus outbreak received mixed reactions from economists and politicians.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday his economic response to coronavirus which is looking to curb the effects of the virus a day after Turkey announced its first death and cases climbed to 98.

The pack includes measures for the postponement of tax duties, loans and social insurance payments, as well as several incentives for Turkish businesses and citizens.

The government also promised to give financial support to its export companies.

It increased the state credit guarantee fund from 25 billion lira ($3,9 billion) to 50 billion lira ($8 billion) to shield private banks.

The head of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO), Şekib Avdagiç, welcomed the economy package.

"The measures will be the 'protective mask' of our economy against the effects of the coronavirus," Avdagiç said.

However, the amount the package is insufficient with respect to aid packages by several Western countries, according to the opposition.

"The United States announced a support package of $1 trillion. To support the economy, Germany allocated 600 billion dollars, Britain 400 billion, and the EU Commission 480 billion dollars. Erdoğan's package is $15 billion. Just two percent of gross domestic product. Insufficient," the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Gürsel Tekin said.

Meanwhile, several economists accused the Turkish government of not understand the severity of the situation.

"If the measures taken are limited to those described here, it means that the economy management underestimates the situation. A much more comprehensive and large package would be required," Berlin School of Economics and Law associate professor Ümit Akçay said.

The tax reductions for accommodation and domestic travel tickets were "ultra interesting", journalist Emin Çapa said.

Former leader of Liberal Democrat Party, Cem Toker, gave a similar reaction pointing out the discrepancy between measures against spread of coronavirus and the promised economic aid.

"In a country, where staying at home is recommended, tax reduction is made for hotel accommodation and domestic flight tickets. Shall we travel or sit at home?" Toker said.