Jailed HDP former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's wife Başak Demirtaş has cited concerns about jail conditions that could augment the spread of the coronavirus and called on authorities to release prisoners. Demirtaş's remarks came amid reports that the gov't will expedite a legal amendment to reduce the time served by inmates to facilitate their early release. However, the legal amendment will exclude political prisoners.
Turkey's Justice Minister Gül has asked people not to go to the courthouse unless it is an absolute must, saying officials were working on a new implementation which will suspend the current legal processes. Gül's statement came amid reports that a judge at Istanbul Courthouse and the judiciary personnel working with her have been placed under quarantine over suspected coroanvirus infection.
City utility workers that read water and natural gas meters in Istanbul apartments are facing difficulties as coronavirus fears grow, according to Istanbul Greater City Municipality (IBB) Workers' Association chair Ali Rıza İlhan. He said that the utility workers both face the risk of transmitting the virus to the people in the homes they enter as well as their own families.
Tezcan Karakuş Candan, head of the Ankara branch of Turkey's Chamber of Architects, has said that a company has been constructing a wedding hall on the land of the city's iconic Atatürk Forest Farm under the disguise of "landscape design." "Coronavirus opportunists are working. Everyone's concerned on their health, but they are still after land rent and looting," Candan said about the Pusay Tourism Logistic Co. Ltd.
Turkish citizens are able to access their coronavirus (COVID-19) test results online, the country's Health Ministry said on March 20. The results will be able to be seen from the "e-Nabız" website and mobile application.
A group of Turkish taxi drivers have protested the decrease in the number of passengers, as hundreds of thousands of people have been refraining from going outside to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). "The drivers are in a race to earn money. Accident risks are increasing. We are working for the owner of the licence plate," Yunus Başboğa, a taxi driver speaking on behalf of the group, said on March 20.
Istanbul Municipality has prepared informative videos on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Turkish, Kurdish, English, Persian and Arabic as part of its efforts to curb the spread of the highly contagious virus. The videos are currently being screened on public transportation and displays.
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has urged people to declare their own state of emergencies. "They ask me whether we will declare a state of emergency. There is no need to do that. You should take your own measures," Koca said, adding that people should refrain from going outside in the next two to three weeks.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a decree on March 20 postponing all events related to science, culture and art, as it seeks to contain a surge in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. The decree published in the Official Gazette said all meetings and activities, indoors or outdoors, related to science, culture, art and other similar fields would be postponed until the end of April.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have started reworking on regulations that would lead to the release of thousands of prisoners in Turkey amid calls for taking measures in prisons over coronavirus. Prisons in Turkey are known to be at overcapacity, with reports of people sleeping on the floors being common. Rights groups have been drawing attention to the fact that coronavirus can easily be spread via prison guards or the arrival of people newly arrested.
There has been a rise in the number of city hospitals built in Turkey in recent years using the public-private-partnership model, and while these are large facilities with bed capacities often exceeding 1000, their presence won't necessarily help fight the coronavirus pandemic, according to Dr. Kayıhan Pala, from Bursa's Uludağ University's Medical Department.
For the purpose of decreasing the risk of coronavirus infection, a scientific board from Turkey's Ministry of Health has ordered that tables in restaurants must be at least one meter apart from another, and that two meters is the preferred distance.
People in Turkey stepped out on their balconies on March 19 evening to applaud healthcare workers on the front line of fighting the coronavirus outbreak. Health Minister Koca called on the public to stage this collective act of solidarity three-nights in a row.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on March 19 that some 9,800 people are currently under quarantine in Turkey as the country ramps up measures to combat the coronavirus spread.
The former co-chair of Germany’s Green Party Cem Özdemir, who is of Turkish descent, tested positive for the coronavirus, he said in a Tweet on March 19. “I’m okay and no one should worry about me,” Özdemir said in a video he published on Twitter.