Turkey can’t shake off the Covid-19 menace

Turkey recorded 26,597 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, close to last week’s three-month high, and the number of fatalities hovered close to a two-month peak.


Daily cases have surged from a low of just over 4,000 in early July to over 20,000 for the last two weeks.


That resurgence, coupled with severe wildfires in Turkey’s southwestern coastal provinces, has hit hopes for a strong tourism revival this summer after heavy losses caused by pandemic restrictions last year.


Last week the new daily cases hit 26,822, the highest level since the first week of May. The number of COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday was 124.


Two-thirds of Turkish adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, while slightly less than half have received two or more doses. Turkey has given nearly 6 million third doses to health workers and people over 50 years old.


Turkish physicians are calling on more people to get vaccinated in order to lower the risk of getting infected with COVID-19.


Huseyin Pehlivan, working at the COVID-19 zone in the state-owned Prof. Dr. Cemil Tascioglu City Hospital, said he received two shots of China’s Sinovac vaccine earlier this year and just took the third boost shot.


“Thanks to these vaccines, I did not get infected, even though I am with the COVID-19 patients all the time,” Pehlivan told Xinhua.


He urged more people to receive vaccines, saying that “most of the coronavirus patients here are those who are not vaccinated.”


Hakan Akelma, an anesthesiology and reanimation associate professor in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakir province, said 65 in 100 COVID-19 patients in the hospital he works for are unvaccinated.


Akelma urged citizens on Twitter to get their vaccines done without delay to prevent a possible peak in the pandemic.


Gursel Bedir, provincial health director in the eastern Erzurum province, recently told reporters that the directorate conducted a study on COVID-19 patients treated in intensive care units in the last four months.


The study revealed that 460 in 589 coronavirus patients were those who have never been inoculated, Bedir said.


Esin Davutoglu Senol, a professor of infectious diseases at the Ankara-based Gazi University, said on Twitter that “vaccinated people are less likely to transmit the virus.”



Despite the clear and imminent danger, the Erdogan government “As for restrictions that were scrapped in July, authorities do not plan to reintroduce them, at least until October, one month after the scheduled reopening of schools for in-person education”, reported pro-government Daily SABAH.



Erdogan’s zest for tourism revenues to keep the current account deficit low is taking its toll on public health. Ahval News wrote:  Turkey suspended annual leave for all health workers in the tourist region of Antalya on Monday as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. The number of cases in Antalya, Turkey’s most visited tourist destination, is at least three or four times greater than official data, Nursel Şahin, the head of a top medical association for the region, told Halk TV last week. “An influx of Russian tourists, who have low vaccination rates, means the delta variant of the virus is dominating”, she said.


WATCH: Turkey’s Annus Horribilis | Real Turkey


While Turkey administered 80 million doses of vaccines, app 25mn of those are Chinese Sinopharm, which  offers low protection against the now-dominant Delta variant.  Opening primary and secondary schools in less than a month, in the face of medical findings that the new variant is also attacking younger people is very risky.


With only 10% of the workforce able to work off-site Turkey can ill-afford new lockdowns and social mobility restrictions. The government is facing a losing battle, it appears.  Strict measures to combat the outbreak risks alienating voters and ending the economic recovery. No measures means a devasting health crisis.


Follow our  English language YouTube videos  @ REAL TURKEY:   https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKpFJB4GFiNkhmpVZQ_d9Rg


And content at Twitter: @AtillaEng

Facebook:  Real Turkey Channel:   https://www.facebook.com/realturkeychannel/



Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.