Economic cost of full lockdown 'would have been much higher,' says presidential spokesperson

Turkey is implementing a curfew only for weekends, because otherwise the economic cost "would have been much higher," Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said, amid calls for a full lockdown to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Turkey has already borne an economic cost from the coronavirus, and a full lockdown's economic cost “would have been much higher,” said Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın on April 16.

Kalın made the comments during an interview with news channel NTV.

Asked why Turkey has not still imposed a full curfew amid the virus outbreak, Kalın said: “The economic cost of this would have been much higher. This would also have further implications on social life, human psychology. People are sometimes making suggestions in good faith, but which are not based on scientific data.”

“Like everyone else, our priority is to curb the epidemic and to minimize the loss of lives. Some people might think that talking about economy in such a period is wrong, inconsiderate or inhumane, but the reality is that the life needs to go on in some way,” Kalın said.

Turkey to continue to implement weekend curfewsTurkey to continue to implement weekend curfews

Last week, Turkey imposed a 48-hour weekend curfew for 31 major cities. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan later announced that the country will implement these weekend curfews “as needed” and the next one will take place on April 18-19.

So far, however, no one in the Turkish government appears to be pushing for a curfew lasting 14 days, which is the incubation period of the virus. Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu on the other hand has repeatedly called for a full lockdown for the megacity of 16 million residents.

Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu says time running out to halt coronavirus spreadIstanbul Mayor İmamoğlu says time running out to halt coronavirus spread

“The measures you take for 16 million people, the methods for stopping the pandemic will save Turkey,” İmamoğlu previously said.

On the calls for a full lockdown, Erdoğan said Turkey must “keep wheels turning” to sustain an economy recovering from recession.

Kalınon April 16 also addressed allegations that the government was notpaying heed to the suggestions of Health Ministry's CoronavirusScience Committee, saying such speculations do not reflect the truth.

“Sometimesthere are speculations that differences of opinions between theCommittee's works and political will have arisen or suggestions ofthe Committee are not realized. This is out of the question,” Kalınsaid.

All of the suggestions of the Coronavirus Science Committee have been taken into account and then realized, said Kalın. “The Science Committee makes suggestions looking at the issue's medical and scientific aspect solely. It is not expected of them to express an opinion regarding the economy anyway. Their suggestions which they have made concerning their expertise have been so far turned into rules, implementation.”