Turkey’s Covid-19 nightmare comes back with vengeance

Covid-19 is making its 4th deadly round in Turkey, as President Erdogan once again traded tourism revenues  and political expediency for public health. In this round, though, he shares the blame with vaccine-deniers.


Turkey on Sunday registered 22,699 new COVID-19 cases, raising its tally of infections to 5,918,540, according to its health ministry. The death toll from the virus in Turkey rose by 108 to 52,196, while 5,835 more people recovered in the last 24 hours.


A total of 239,637 tests were conducted over the past day, it said.  The positive case/test ratio hovered around 10% over the last week, pointing to a massive outbreak which is yet to be contained by the rapid vaccination campaign.


Turkey has started mass COVID-19 vaccination on Jan. 14, 2021 after the authorities approved the emergency use of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine.


More than 41.77 million people have received their first doses of the vaccine, while over 28.87 million had their second doses. Turkey has so far administered over 76.19 million doses including third booster jabs.


The Ministry of Health has the administrative capacity to jab up to 1 mn people/day and as far as PATurkey knows, has ample stocks, but up to 40% of citizens appear reluctant to be vaccinated, according to a recent unbranded poll published by daily Haberturk.


The number of young people being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals’ intensive care units (ICU) is increasing, an expert has said, adding that ICUs are packed with unvaccinated people.  Several physicians went on press to add that almost all the intensive care patients are unvaccinated:


WATCH:  Turkey’s Annus Horribilis | Real Turkey


“There are people from all age groups in ICUs. However, we observe that the Delta variant of COVID-19 has some serious effects on unvaccinated young people. The number of young people in those units is increasing as they are reluctant to get the jabs,” said Professor Sema Turan, the head of ICU at Ankara City Hospital and a member of the Health Ministry’s Science Board, which advises the government on the COVID-19 pandemic.


She noted that besides unvaccinated patients, the second large group of people in ICUs are those who had received two doses of [the Chinese] Sinovac jab but missed the booster shot.


Turkey started to administer vaccine booster shots in July.


Turan also warned against yet another peak of coronavirus cases in autumn.



“All necessary measures should be taken to avoid a possible peak in September. If the vaccination drive continues effectively, the admissions to ICUs could be far less than seen during the previous peaks,” she said.


Health Minister Fahrettin Koca took to Twitter to renew his call on the public to get the virus jab.


“The vaccine is our best weapon. But it would be effective if two doses are administered. Get vaccinated and stick to anti-virus rules until immunity is developed. Without those measures, the vaccine alone cannot produce the desired result,” Koca tweeted on Aug. 8.


The minister previously warned that the number of fully vaccinated people was not enough to combat the pandemic.


Experts and officials are urging people to get vaccinated as the number of daily coronavirus cases started to pick up toward the end of July.


The infections climbed to record highs in April, exceeding 60,000 cases, but they dropped significantly in June to hover at around 5,000 to 6,000.

Then, Erdogan decided his political goals require admitting tourists with a dubious vaccination record, letting in Russian tourists. These mingled freely in the city of Antalya with unvaccinated Turkish revelers, creating  ideal conditions for the virus to mutate further.


His second mistake was to turn a benign eye to the Afghan refugees flooding Tukey over the Iran border to make amends with US.  Reportedly, up to 2K young migrants are still crossing the border and rapidly dispersing through Anatolia with no records and no health checks.

As a result, since June 28, the number of daily cases has remained above 20,000.

Unless external contagion factors are brought under strict monitoring and vaccine doubters are persuaded, Turkey has only one option to combat the outbreak:  Vaccine passes.


With such a high  percentage of voters refusing vaccination, that measure, too, runs against Erdogan’s “votes first” policy.


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.