Ahmet Davutoğlu: Turkey is concealing true coronavirus figures

Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has accused the Turkish government of concealing the true number of deaths from coronavirus, Israel Hayom newspaper reported on Monday.

Davutoğlu started his own political party, Gelecek Partisi (the Future Party) in December 2019 after leaving the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), and has reportedly told party members that "the most egregious thing taking place in Turkey today is the concealment of the morbidity rates", Israel Hayom said.

Davutoğlu, well known for being a former professor of international relations before his political career, also criticised the Turkish government’s scientific committee, which he said was comprised of “the president's relatives and health ministry officials who are under no external oversight”, according to the newspaper.

It is thought that the rift between Davutoğlu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began in part because Davutoğlu disagreed with Erdoğan’s desire for an executive presidential system of government, which was narrowly passed in a constitutional referendum in 2017. 

Davutoğlu has now come forward with some of his harshest criticism of the AKP, calling them a ‘family party’, and saying "I want to tell them, we will never allow anyone or any family to mortgage our country".

This is not the first time that the Turkish government has been publicly accused of hiding the real coronavirus figures. Ali Karakoc, a medical doctor and head of the Turkish Medical Association in Ankara, accused the government of hiding the real figures in a recent interview

Ankara’s opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) mayor, Mansur Yavaş, also warned that there were inconsistencies in the official figures. He suggested that local mayors should release their death figures and compare these figures to the ones released by the Health Ministry.

Dr. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak of Tel Aviv University told Israel Hayom that the reason for hiding the real coronavirus figures was economic. "The [Turkish] economy is so fragile that they cannot allow themselves to impose another lockdown”, Yanarocak said.