Turkey will impose four-day lockdown from May 16

Turkey will impose four-day lockdown from May 16

Turkey will impose four-day lockdown from May 16

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on May 11 that a lockdown would be imposed starting on May 16 and ending after May 19, which is a national holiday.

"There will again be a lockdown in place on May 16-17-18 and 19," Erdoğan said in an address to the nation following a weekly cabinet meeting.     

Since the start of the outbreak, Turkey has had all-day weekend curfews in 31 cities including Istanbul and the capital Ankara. The first curfew was declared on April 11-12 and it was followed by others in the past weeks.

May 19 is a national holiday in Turkey, so the government decided to extend the weekend curfew until May 19. 

Erdoğan also said people over 65 years will be allowed to leave their homes, remaining within walking distance and wearing masks, on May 17 between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time (0800-1400GMT)

Children under 14 years will be allowed out on May 20 and 22 during the same hours, also within walking distance and wearing masks, he added.

Travel restrictions lifted for 9 more cities

Erdoğan also announced that COVID-19 travel restrictions were lifted in nine more cities, as part of the normalization process as the number of fatalities and cases continue to decrease in the country.

The restrictions on the three largest cities, Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, remain in place.

Turkey lifted coronavirus travel restrictions for the cities of Adana, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Trabzon, Ordu, Denizli, Kahramanmaraş, Şanlıurfa and Tekirdağ, he said.

The president also added that quarantine has been lifted in 300 settlements.

Cases, deaths continue to decrease

Highlighting that Turkey successfully continues to fight the epidemic, Erdoğan said that the number of new cases, deaths, and patients in intensive care are gradually decreasing.

However, he said, citizens should not see the steps toward normalization as returning to life before March 10, the date when the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in the country.

"We have entered a new period" where rules of hygiene and social distancing need to be strictly followed," he said.    

"We have seen the examples in the world of how complacency could lead to big catastrophes."

He added that a National Solidarity Campaign to raise money to fight the virus and its impact had netted some 2 billion Turkish Liras ($282 million) in donations.

Erdoğan said he expects donations will continue for the campaign which will last until the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

"We are obliged to continue our lives for a long time according to the measures that will protect us against the threat of the outbreak," he stressed.

Turkey's success in managing the outbreak draws everyone’s attention, including scientists, he added.

Erdogan also thanked healthcare workers who fight against the virus, on the occasion of the upcoming International Nurses Day, which will be marked on May 12.

Power generation in huge Tigris dam to start next week

The president also said that Turkey will launch the first turbine in Ilısu Dam in southeast Turkey next week.

"We will start operating one of six turbines of Ilısu Dam, one of the largest irrigation and energy projects in our country, on May 19," Erdoğan said.

The dam, approved by the Turkish government in 1997 to generate electricity for the region, uproots some 80,000 people from 199 villages and has alarmed authorities in neighboring Iraq, who fear the impact on their water supplies from the Tigris river.

After years of setbacks and delays Turkey started filling the dam in July. Activists who have campaigned against the project have called for the dam to be emptied citing environmental and cultural concerns.

The Ilısu Dam will generate 1,200 megawatts of electricity, making it Turkey's fourth-largest dam in terms of energy production.