ISTANBUL, TURKEY - APRIL 11: A drone photo shows empty July 15 Martyrs' Bridge after a two-day curfew imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Istanbul, Turkey on April 11, 2020. Turkey has imposed a 48-hour curfew in 31 provinces beginning at midnight of April 11 as part of measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. ( Muhammed Enes Yıldırım - Anadolu Agency )
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Turkish Health Minister ‘was not notified of curfew beforehand’

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca was reportedly not aware of the decision to impose a two-day curfew on 31 provinces. Members of the Health Ministry’s Science Commission were also reportedly not notified of the curfew beforehand, prompting them to hand their resignations to Koca. “If you quit, you would be leaving Turkey alone in its struggle against the coronavirus,” daily Yeniçağ cited Koca as telling Science Commission members.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu (L) and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca are seen in this file photo.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca was reportedly not aware of the decision to impose a two-day curfew on 31 provinces, which came as a shock to the country due to it being announced just two hours before its implementation.

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced the curfew at around 10 p.m. on April 10, prompting thousands to go out on the streets to purchase food despite calls to stay home to curb the spread of the highly contagious virus.

The scenes of overcrowded bakeries and supermarkets were widely shared on social media, with many slamming the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for paving the way for such an incident that social distancing was not applied to take place.

Since reporting its first coronavirus case on March 11, Turkish citizens have been staying home as a precaution in line with Koca’s suggestions. The scenes of April 10 were also interpreted as a waste of a month long efforts.

Koca, who addressed reporters in a press briefing just hours before the curfew, found out about the Interior Ministry’s curfew decision at night, daily Sözcü reported on April 12.

Members of the Health Ministry’s Science Commission were also reportedly not notified of the curfew beforehand, prompting them to hand their resignations to Koca.

“If you quit, you would be leaving Turkey alone in its struggle against the coronavirus,” daily Yeniçağ cited Koca as telling Science Commission members.

According to the daily, Koca managed to persuade the scientists to not quit.

Interior Minister Soylu, meanwhile, replied to criticism, admitting that he couldn’t foresee that people would flock to the streets.

“Limited accumulation took place in some areas. It’s true. I couldn’t foresee that. But, I don’t think this very limited accumulation will cause a major problem,” Soylu told daily Hürriyet on April 12.

Unplanned curfew against disaster management’

Speaking about the government’s hasty decision, Assoc. Prof. Burçak Başbuğ Erkan said that the most crucial element in disaster management is planning.

“The decision is correct, but its implementation is utterly wrong,” Erkan told Duvar, adding that the decision must have been announced two days earlier.

“This situation shows us that no planning was made in terms of disaster management,” she also said.

Saying that coordination and cooperation are the essentials of disaster management, Erkan noted that the incident showed that there is a massive disunity among the institutions.

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