Curfew to start on Thursday running through weekend
Turkey plans to extend the weekend curfew in 31 provinces this week as part of measures against the coronavirus, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.
Starting on Thursday, April 23, which is a public holiday commemorating the foundation of Turkish parliament, Turkey will impose curfew in 31 provinces to contain the spread of the virus.
The curfew will end midnight on April 26.
On April 23, Turkey observes the National Sovereignty and Children’s Day every year. This year marks the centennial of the Grand National Assembly.
Erdogan said that bakery shops, water sellers and news vendors will continue operating during the curfew.
His remarks came after a Cabinet meeting held via video link for the fourth time.
“We will continue to impose weekend curfews for some more time without hindering agriculture, health, and food services, as well as basic production activities,” he said.
Erdogan said that the aim is to impose measures in the most meticulous manner and to decrease the level of epidemic in Turkey to a level that will allow returning to normal life after Eid, which will follow the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
On Monday, the coronavirus death toll in Turkey reached 2,140, with 90,980 cases.
Medical gear production
“Our efforts to produce intense care unit ventilators have born successful result,” Erdogan stressed, and said a total of 5,000 devices are scheduled to be produced by the end of May.
“As of today, we have received 100 ventilators [from producers],” he said.
Also highlighting the remarkable progress in the domestic production of protective health equipment, Erdogan said: “The development process of nanofiber-based filters especially for the N95 and N99 masks, which are vital for health personnel, have been completed, tests have started. We are moving on to production as soon as possible.”
Erdogan said Turkey will also increase its capacity in university hospitals and the number of both medical staff and health care workers.
Speaking about importance of investment in young people, he said: “We are also investing in software sector. We will initiate a program aiming to educate 1 million software experts in three years. This project will be prepared by our Treasury, and trainings will be carried out online.”
Following the news conference, Erdogan also called for solidarity in the fight against coronavirus in a tweet, which read: “Remember, we can only overcome this epidemic if we act 83 million together.
“We can confidently look at our future as long as we embrace our unity, solidarity, and brotherhood.”
Syria regime aggression not to be allowed
Speaking on the other topics addressed during the Cabinet meeting, Erdogan stressed that Syrian regime accelerated its aggression in the Idlib de-escalation zone, located in the country’s northwest, by taking advantage of the pandemic, which caught full attention of the world and Turkey.
“Turkey will protect its commitment to the March 5 agreement reached with Russia, and will not allow the aggression of the regime,” Erdogan said.
“If the regime, which violates the cease-fire and other conditions of agreement, continues like this, it will pay for it with very heavy losses,” he said, noting that other “dark groups” would also not be allowed to carry out provocative activities.
Support for Libyan government
Erdogan also called on international community once again to support the legitimate government in Libya against “putschist Haftar”.
Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) on Saturday launched an operation to recapture Tarhuna, a town of strategic value for warlord Khalifa Haftar and his last major stronghold in the area surrounding the capital Tripoli.
Tarhuna is a major focal point for Haftar’s forces in their onslaught against Tripoli as well as for their supply lines from Al-Jufra airbase.
The GNA has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since last April, with more than 1,000 killed in the violence. It launched Operation Peace Storm on March 26 to counter attacks on the capital.
Turkey’s fight with terrorism
Erdogan said, Turkey’s fight against the PKK terror group continues amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“We have neutralized 38 terrorists in the past two weeks. We will continue our fight against them,” he added.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.