Erdoğan asked financially troubled citizens’ blessing over COVID-19 measures
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked for Turkish citizens for their blessings who have been financially effected due to the measures implemented by the government in order to curb COVID-19 cases.
“We intend to continue to act cautiously until the end of May, but in June, we are planning to ease the measures significantly,” Erdoğan said on Friday, after an Eid celebration with his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members, T24 reported.
Turkey will move to a gradual normalisation period on May 17 after 17 days of full-lockdown.
The government introduced tighter restrictions on the population on April 29, in a so-called "full closure" that is due to expire on Monday, after the surge in COVID-19 cases . The steps including such as the closure of all non-essential businesses, a ban on intercity travel, barring the sale of alcohol and shutting down schools.
In the first phase of normalisation, small businesses and schools will re-open, Hürriyet newspaper reported on Tuesday. Restrictions on events where large crowds gather, such as weddings and funeral wakes, should continue during the gradual re-opening, it said, citing unidentified government officials.
"I want my nation to be sure that all the measures we have implemented since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, had the sole purpose of protecting 84 million citizens’ health,” Erdoğan said.
“We are striving to provide all sorts of support for the survival of our tradesmen and tourism sector, we significantly increased the social support for our citizens,” Erdoğan said, adding that international evaluations showed that Turkey is among the countries that provide the most common and effective social support to their citizens during the pandemic.
According to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report published at the end of April, Turkey ranked among the countries that provided the least financial support to its people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Opposition parties seized the IMF report to attack Erdoğan for not telling the truth about the size of the government aid.
The country only made an additional expenditure equivalent to 1.9 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), between January 2020 and March 2021 to support its population during the outbreak, Diken news website reported on April 28.