Opposition parties pledge support to Turkey’s fight against COVID-19
Opposition political parties have pledged to contribute to Turkey’s ongoing efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, with calls on parliament to set up a commission to support the medical teams’ works across the country, as one person died due to the pandemic, while 98 others are currently infected.
Parliament has not suspended its legislative works yet, but the political parties have all canceled their weekly parliamentary meetings from where they make their main political statements. Parliament is expected to cease its functions after Health Minister Fahrettin Koca informs the General Assembly on the fight against the coronavirus on March 19.
The leaders of the parties have preferred to convey their messages on the fight against the pandemic either through written statements or video messages.
“You should not worry. We are standing with you. The CHP will do whatever necessary to overcome this problem all together,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the chair of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said through a video message late March 17 in Ankara.
The only way to address the growing problem concerning the spread of the virus is to follow scientific measures announced by the Science Council under the Health Ministry, Kılıçdaroğlu said, urging the government to follow an inclusive way to resolve the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus.
“The best way is to gather those who are suffering from the problem with those who are supposed to resolve the problem. We have a constitutional body for that. The Economic and Social Council should immediately be called for a meeting. Industrialists, artisans, farmers, self-employed, health personnel and the Turkish Medical Association should all come together,” Kılıçdaroğlu suggested.
He also informed that he instructed all CHP mayors to continue providing municipal services to all the citizens even though they cannot pay their bills.
MHP confident in ‘defeating virus’
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli issued a written statement on March 17 to express his party’s confidence in a “victory” against COVID-19.
“The Turkish people and all humanity face a threatening global outbreak. It’s obvious that we are passing through difficult times. As a matter of fact, Turkey has come to attention by taking consecutive correct decisions at the right time,” Bahçeli stressed.
“Following the recommendations and instructions of the Health Ministry in a strict way is a must for overcoming the microbe,” he added.
HDP: Not time for political fights
The Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) newly elected co-chair, Mithat Sancar, held a written interview with some reporters on March 17 to express his party’s views on the COVID-19 struggle. “The objective of the politics is to serve the people. It’s not the time for a [political] fight but highlighting our common points,” Sancar said.
Social distancing and isolation are outlined as important measures for slowing down the spread of the outbreak, he said. “These are serious advises and we must sure abide by them. But isolation does not mean staying all alone and dissociated. To the contrary, we can survive this danger by sustaining our ties and communication.”
The government should provide food and hygienic products free of charge and provide medical services to those who are in need, Sancar suggested, adding water, electricity and internet should also be provided for free during this period.
He also called on the government to set up a commission in parliament where all the works should be coordinated with continued dissemination of all the information provided by the Health Ministry.