Anatomy of Turkey's COVID-19 curfew

At the very end of the day (literally), just two hours before midnight the interior minister declared a curfew for the weekend. And, all hell broke loose (again literally).

At the very end of the day (literally), just two hours before midnight the interior minister declared a curfew for the weekend. And, all hell broke loose (again literally). The usually cocksure minister defended his last minute decision that he thought it could have been worse otherwise anyway. He later on magnanimously added that he took to heart all criticisms and even insults. Half of the population complained about their thinning beer and rakı supplies for the weekend, while the other half rushed to the few open bakeries to almost ransack them in order to stock up on bread.

Whereas a couple of hours before the –least to say- controversial Interior Minister took the podium, it was the turn of the rotund and mild-mannered health minister’s turn. During his daily evening press conference, where he is the sole and exceptional cabinet member to accept representatives from the independent media, the minister waxed lyrical: “The sun of the life that we miss will rise.” And added cryptically: “We expect a much larger spring.” It turns out that while he was expecting for the sun to rise and the spring to arrive, a decision had been made behind his back to declare a curfew a mere few hours later.

Never mind. The energetic director of communications, who is not by the way the presidential spokesperson but some modern post-truth age mix of a propaganda minister cum behind the scenes editor in chief of all his majesty’s media, brought the loose ends together. As the interior minister cut the legs out from the health minister few hours earlier, the ever exuberant director tweeted the following: “We continue our struggle for our nation by restoring our historic hospitals and by opening unused public lands to agriculture.” Here you have panicked citizens causing stampedes to fill their refrigerators within hours before the curfew, there you have the sun rising over vast virgin lands being offered by the generous government to its people for them to sow them. 

Indeed, the state and the nation must be one and united. The one is the one who is seated at, not the throne but, the office of the presidency. Hence, the president is the embodiment of the state and the nation combined. Therefore, the citizen’s primary duty is to help his/her president to succeed by overcoming the difficulties which are mostly of foreign origin. In near abroad, as in terror nests right across the border as well as as in neighbouring countries which almost all have an axe to grind against the benign regional hegemon, evil minds constantly foment plots to, God forbid, de-throne the president. But the president is the state, and the nation. Ergo if he goes, the country sinks, upending hundreds and hundreds years of Seljuk and Ottoman saga together with the current republic. 

Not sure about you, dear reader, but I am able to hear from the vantage point of my desk where I angrily go tap, tap, tap on my keyboard the distant thunder of enemy cannons. At night when I try to go to sleep I hear wolves howling at a distance and the piercing sounds of a nearby owl -most definitely the harbinger of certain doom. I touch wood and then I think about the coming spring with capital letters and picture in my mind robust farmers with sun in their faces, and wind in their backs, riding their wagons towards vast virgin agricultural lands generously distributed to them by the government. And then suddenly violent noises interrupt my reveries: Down below the apartment building people are each other throats over a loaf of bread. 

In the meantime the parliament too is heroically at work, pushing forward legislation to further throttle the social media and devising new ways to deprive the political prisoners of their liberty indefinitely. Now is the time to go back to reading distinguished thinkers’ warnings of a coming dystopia. Shall a new iron curtain of sorts will descend upon our world? We on the other hand do not enjoy such a pleasant luxury to lament the dystopian future. Because, we more or less live in one since a while now. Perhaps we are then the living scientific proofs of herd immunity -or failing to be that, the proofs of apathy and anhedonia. Let’s get well soon, hopefully.

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