Turkey to celebrate Eid under lockdown, normalise by June, says Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Monday a new lockdown to be effective in all of 81 provinces between May 23 -26, when the country will be celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of holy month of Ramadan.

“God willing, we won’t need such restrictions after Eid,” Erdoğan said after in televised speech following a cabinet meeting, heralding Turkey’s plans to “mostly complete” a normalisation process in June.

Mosques deemed suitable by governorates and the Religious Affairs Directorate will resume worship on May 29, as part of Turkey’s normalisation steps. Two out of the five Islamic daily prayers will be held in congregation, while only individual worship will be allowed in mosques during other times.

The intercity travel ban effective for 15 provinces has been extended for another 15 days, and visitations in prisons will not resume until June, the Turkish president said.

Some 60,000 prisoners who were given leaves to continue their sentence in their homes will receive a two-month extension to their permits after they expire by the end of May.

Two of the three newly constructed pandemic hospitals will be opened for service by May 31, and will be named after Turkey’s doctors who lost their lives during the pandemic.

The Education Ministry has announced that the distance-learning programme will continue until the end of the school year and classes will resume in September. Summer schools, courses and activities will continue as scheduled. Daycares and preschools are set to re-open by June 15.

Citizens younger than 20, who are currently on lockdown, will be allowed to leave their homes on Wednesdays and Fridays, while those older than 65, also on curfew, will be exempt from the full lockdown on May 24 between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Tuesday, the last day of Turkey’s current weekend lockdown, will see all stadiums throughout Turkey turn their lights on to play the national anthem at 7:19 p.m., to honour Turkey’s national holiday celebrating the start of Turkey’s independence war in 1919.

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic cannot be overcome in any one country, but rather requires a global effort, Erdoğan said.

Turkey is fighting the pandemic through adherence to social distancing, strengthening the healthcare system, procuring of food and hygiene products and national security, he continued.

“As Turkey, we cannot close our borders for years, stop all daily life and wait for the pandemic to end,” Erdoğan said. “So what we must do is to rearrange life according to the reality of the pandemic.”

Turkey is already planning how it will take on a more prominent role in the “reconstructed political and economic climate under the reconstructed world,” the president said, saying the country is planning on recovering all the losses in manufacturing, exports and employment quickly.

Turkey will, Erdoğan said, rid itself of the representatives of a “sick politics,” who ally themselves with terrorists and smear their own country, and who “centre in their lives an animosity against the faith and culture of our people.”

“The (Kurdistan Workers’ Party – PKK) attack in Van and (Republican People’s Party - CHP) attack in Adana “are geared towards the same goal, despite having used different tools,” he said, slamming the opposition and the outlawed armed Kurdish group.

The opposition has haggled for deputies, allied itself with terrorists and dictators, and tried to hide all that under a cloak of democracy, Erdoğan said.

“Our low patient-to-death rate, our system to control the spread of the virus through contact tracing, and innovative treatments are appreciated by the world,” the Turkish president continued.

“Even at a time when (people) around the world fear for their lives, attacks, set-ups and treacherous tricks against us, our country continues at full speed,” Erdoğan said, but Turkey has “managed to void this attack thanks to the precautions and mechanisms we developed,” against “such conspiracies that cannot be explained with the rules of economics.”

The government is closely monitoring those who have wittingly or unwittingly become accessories “in this vile trick,” Erdoğan said, referring to Turkey’s recent foreign currency crisis. Erdogan said, "We will never have mercy for those who smuggle foreign currency to abroad.”

No project or policy plan can be effective in the region without Turkey, he said.

“Examples of this truth are evident in the Balkans, Mediterranean, North Africa and South Asia. God willing, in this coming period we will complete the construction of a great and strong Turkey,” he said.