Turkey – The mess of the lockdown, Erdogan denies his minister – Specials

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by Cristoforo Spinella
ISTANBUL

Another curfew weekend, indeed not. Within a few hours, the Turks went from yet another – and this time unexpected – rush to stocks, to look at the now summer weather for a weekend no longer forced behind the home. The ‘mess’ of the lockdown begins around midnight last: in 24 hours, the Ministry of the Interior warned, all of them closed again at home in the 15 major provinces to curb the spread of Covid-19. A sudden announcement came at an anomalous time and, above all, after the Minister of Health had ruled it out, showing the improvement of the epidemiological situation, in the face of over 167 thousand cases and 4,630 victims, but with more than 131 thousand recovered. After all, the “new normal” of phase 3 began only on Monday, with the reopening after more than two months of restaurants, bars, museums, libraries, beaches, parks and gyms.
In short, a reissue of the curfew imposed over the past eight weekends seemed counterintuitive. The mumbling of the people, who immediately invaded social networks, arrived at the presidential palace of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who this morning took the situation in hand, standing as a savior of the weekend (and of the economy). “We didn’t want to see our citizens suffer just as they began returning to their usual life after two and a half months,” tweeted the head of state, explaining that he had decided to lift the confinement firsthand.
“We decided to reconsider this decision after receiving the opinions of our fellow citizens. We understood,” explained Erdogan, that “it would have unwanted social and economic consequences”. A step backwards, also taking a look at a highly unstable economic situation, while Ankara tries to restart domestic and international tourism as soon as possible, with the first flights from abroad scheduled for Wednesday. In the background, a possible crisis remains with the influential Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, considered number 2 in Ankara together (and in contrast) with the President of the Treasury and son-in-law, Berat Albayrak. Moreover, it would not be the first. Already on the first of the lockdwon weekends, on 11 and 12 April, Soylu was targeted for the announcement a couple of hours after its beginning, which pushed people to panic in the street, crowding into supermarkets. Overwhelmed by criticism, the minister announced his resignation, thus bypassing a possible ‘punishment’ by Erdogan. Which in fact rejected them at the sender, leaving him in his place. At least so far.

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