Turkey to continue with weekend curfews
“As part of the fight against the pandemic, we decided to continue the curfew on weekends as needed in the coming period,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, in an address after a three-hour-long cabinet meeting on April 13.
Erdoğan also said that the establishment of two hospitals in Istanbul’s Yeşilköy and Sancaktepe neighborhoods have started.
He also announced the establishment of two new hospitals in Hadımköy and Derince neighborhoods, with a total of 350-bed capacity.
“Turkey continues its fight against the coronavirus pandemic with determination,” he said.
As for the current construction of Başakşehir City Hospital, in Istanbul, Erdoğan said that the first phase of the hospital will be opened on April 20, while the second phase will be available to treat coronavirus patients on May 15.
He also said that the hospital will be able to serve 456 patients in intensive care.
Meanwhile, Pendik Training and Research Hospital, under Marmara University, has started to allow patients and has a bed capacity of 536, Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan stressed that Turkey makes significant progress in bringing the coronavirus outbreak under control, adding that the country is facing no difficulties in supplying its people with personal health and cleaning materials.
“With measures taken, Turkey tops the countries which brought the outbreak under control in the fastest way,” he said.
“We are ranking at the top regarding tests conducted on a daily basis and at total,” he added.
Interior minister continues duty
Erdoğan also commented on Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu’s resignation, which he rejected.
“I didn’t accept his resignation and asked him to continue his duty,” Erdoğan said.
He also hailed Soylu’s successes in combating terrorism, post-natural disaster management in the country, as well as his efforts in ensuring public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ankara late on April 10 announced a two-day curfew in 31 provinces that took effect at midnight.
The announcement came about 10.00 p.m. local time and said it would affect 30 metropolises, including the capital Ankara, Istanbul, the Aegean province of İzmir and Zonguldak, where respiratory diseases are common among residents.
The curfew’s announcement received many criticisms as people in the said provinces flocked to markets and bakeries who were still open for last-minute shopping.
After the criticisms, Soylu said he was resigning from his position as interior minister over the implementation and timing of the curfew.
Soylu’s resignation was rejected by Erdoğan late April 12.
Erdoğan thanked Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli for his support to the government during the “critical time.”
Earlier on April 13, Bahçeli said on Twitter that his party is “extremely happy” with the presidential decision, adding that Soylu successfully fulfilled his tasks during Turkey’s most sensitive period with his “ambitious, faithful, skilful and combative personality.”
Separately, Erdoğan on Twitter revealed the economic measures his country took to meet the needs of people during the outbreak.
“We take every precaution to protect employment, protect our citizens who lost their income, support our retirees, keep tradesmen and craftsmen on their feet, and support the production. We are determined not to leave any section [of people] unattended with the steps we take,” he said.