Turkish business world calls for financial aid after COVID-19 lockdown

Businesses across Turkey called on the government to provide them with financing to help them deal with the economic impact of a lockdown on the population that began on Thursday, Dünya newspaper reported.

Industry groups are saying that the government is failing to provide them sufficient support, Dünya said citing sector representatives.

While welcoming a government decision to keep factories open, Nurettin Özdebir, head of the Ankara Chamber of Industry (ASO), said it had failed to address the wider impact on the business world.

“There are many elements such as manufacturers, suppliers, intermediate goods producers, and marketeers in this ecosystem. However, some elements that could disrupt the integrity of this ecosystem have been overlooked,” he said.

“We are in contact with the Interior Ministry and the Ankara governor’s office on this matter,” he said. "We are doing our best to prevent disruption of the production and supply chain."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced the tightest lockdown yet on the population beginning on Thursday until May 17. All non-essential businesses have closed and travel between provinces is banned without special permits. The government is seeking to reverse a surge in daily cases of COVID-19 that reached more than 60,000 last week, a record since the outbreak began.

The government must provide cash to businesses who are unable to operate during the lockdown, said Gürsel Baran, chief of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO).

Kaya Demirer, who is chief of TURYID, which represents restauranteurs, said the government should offer loans to some 120,000 business owners. Business operations in the sector have shrunk by more than 25 percent in the past year and the contraction could exceed 30 percent, seriously impacting employment, he said.

The government should help restructure the debts of travel agents, reduce interest rates on loans and provide amnesties on loan defaults, said Firuz Bağlıkaya, head of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB).