Turkey to overcome this period ‘with measures we take,’ Erdoğan says
The president’s remarks came during a press conference before an emergency meeting convened to coordinate the fight against COVID-19.
“Until this day, we have been and are still gradually taking precautions to control the disease... Today, with patience on one side and prayers on the other, I believe we will overcome this period,” he said.
Erdoğan said that in such a situation, it is “of course” not easy to keep the industry working but with decisions set to be taken Turkey will “achieve the difficulties” altogether.
The president said that the decline in the price of crude oil in the world markets, as well as the developments in financial markets, will provide “additional advantages” to Turkey.
“What’s important is to show resistance in both the medical, psychological and economic senses, before we let this disease defeats us,” Erdoğan said.
He also said that if Turkey can “manage the upcoming few weeks well,” better things will happen.
Turkey alternative for production
The president also said that after the outbreak of the coronavirus, the world started looking for alternatives in production.
China’s economy has suffered a heavy blow as the epidemic has paralyzed activity, with industrial output contracting at the fastest pace in 30 years and fixed-asset investment falling for the first time on record.
China’s nationwide survey-based jobless rate rose to 6.2 percent in February, compared with 5.2 percent in December, the latest official data showed.
Goldman Sachs said on March 17 that China’s economy will likely shrink 9 percent in the first quarter, underscoring how the coronavirus has disrupted normal business activities.
“When one thinks about alternatives in production, Turkey is among the first ones that come to mind,” he said.
Erdoğan also said that when compared to other countries, Turkey is doing relatively good.
He referred to a teleconference summit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The four-way summit took place on March 17 evening as leaders discussed a handful of issues, including the COVID-19 pandemic, and joint measures to fight against it.
“In this video conference - and not just about the virus - when we make an assessment, it is seen that we are in the best position,” he said.
Erdoğan said that after Turkey, Germany follows, yet, France and the U.K.’s situations are so “negative” that it is “beyond comparison.”
The “Extensive Coordination Meeting with the Fight against the Coronavirus” commenced after Erdoğan’s remarks.
After the meeting, another press conference is expected for the announcement of new measures against the virus outbreak.
Many government officials, representatives from non-governmental organizations, financial authorities, including CEOs of banks, and sector representatives attended the meeting.
About 83 officials were present during the meeting, including all cabinet members. Vice President Fuat Oktay, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairs Nurettin Canikli and Numan Kurtulmuş, Central Bank chief Murat Uysal, Capital Markets Board (SPK) head Ali Fuat Taşkesenlioğlu and Istanbul Stock Exchange (BİST) chair Erişan Arıcan were also present at the emergency meeting.
For the industry, the chairs of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges (TOBB), Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TİM), Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK) were also among the participants.
Members of the Science Board, formed by the Health Ministry for the coronavirus outbreak, also attended the meeting.
The officials sat a meter apart from one another for “social distancing” purposes.