Opposition says gov't failing in managing coronavirus crisis after sudden 2-day curfew sparks shopping rush

Several members of opposition parties have criticized the government for announcing the decision of a 48-hour curfew only two hours left to lockdown. The sudden announcement led to panic, with crowds rushing to markets and bakeries and flouting social distancing advice.

Duvar English

Turkey declares curfew for weekend in 31 major citiesTurkey declares curfew for weekend in 31 major cities

Several members of opposition parties have accused the government of failing in managing the coronavirus crisis after its sudden weekend curfew announcement caused a wave of panic buying among residents of 31 major cities.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Engin Özkoç shared photos of long queues forming outside bakeries and markets, saying: “You are unable to govern.”

Özkoç wrote on Twitter: “The damage that the ruling AKP has caused to our Turkey is greater than the damage caused by coronavirus.”

“Social distancing which is being tried to be managed for days now has been wiped away in one night and with the hands of the Interior Ministry itself…Would curfew be declared just a few hours left [to midnight]?” wrote CHP deputy Oğuz Kaan Salıcı on Twitter.

Turkish Interior Ministry late on April 10 imposed a two-day curfew in 31 large cities, including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, in response to the spread of Covid-19. About one hour after its initial circular came a second notice, detailing the exemptions the curfew, saying bakeries, petrol stations, pharmacies and health facilities would be allowed to stay open during the curfew.

Istanbul mayor criticizes sudden curfew announcement, says municipality has not been notifiedIstanbul mayor criticizes sudden curfew announcement, says municipality has not been notified

CHP deputy Tuncay Özkan criticized the Interior Ministry for not notifying citizens of the exemptions sooner, saying this was one of the factors that led to panic and resulted in crowds queueing especially outside the bakeries and petrol stations late on April 10.

“Why did you not announce that places for urgent needs would be open [during the curfew] beforehand? Why did you annouce the [curfew] decision which was taken on April 9 only two hours left to the lockdown?” Özkan asked.

“The ones responsible for the queues in the streets are those who have announced the decision taken on April 9 only two hours left to the curfew! Those who cannot do anything else besides struggling on with the municipalities of the CHP! You are unable to govern and crumbling! Let our municipalities do their job!” he wrote on Twitter.

Canan Kaftancıoğlu, the Istanbul provincial head of the CHP, also slammed the government for its sudden decision of the curfew, saying: “You are unable to g-o-v-e-r-n! The mind boggles such an unplanned and unscheduled move...”

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A similar criticism came from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). In a message shared on its official account on Twitter, the party asked why the decision of the curfew was announced after grocery stores were closed down. The Interior Ministry has recently restricted the operating hours of grocery stores and supermarkets to between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.

“What is the purpose of creating a panic atmosphere? The ruling AKP has once again shown it thinks nothing of the public health with the daily curfew. The ruling power is to be blamed for a burst in [coronavirus] cases numbers and deaths,” the party said.

HDP deputy Garo Paylan also criticized the abrupt curfew decision saying: “If you let citizens go outside during the weekdays and lock them in their houses on the weekend, then they will pass on the virus which they have received at work to those at home more.”

“The sudden curfew has caused panic. People are queuing to buy bread. Crisis could not have been managed worse than this,” Paylan wrote on Twitter.

İYİ (Good) Party deputy Lütfü Türkkan also got involved in the discussion, saying: “There is the right way to do things. These people [referring to the government officials] do not know any better and are incompetent people. Since they could not do things right, look at the streets. Then what is the good of this curfew?”