Duvar English

A group of prominent Turkish academics have urged the government to announce an extraordinary spending program to tackle the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The group including Korkut Boratav and Hayri Kozanoğlu released a statement featuring 22 suggestions on March 29, calling on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to abandon neoliberalism and adopt concepts such as planning and societal solidarity.

“The state should prepare an extraordinary spending program. It should include support for medical expenditures,” the statement read.

“The suspension of all jobs, excluding the production of urgent and compulsory goods and services, for 15 days must be evaluated urgently,” it added.

The statement focusing on workers’ rights urged workers to be put on paid leave during the pandemic, as well as a ban on dismissals in the same time period.

“During the outbreak, natural gas, electricity, water and internet must be provided free of charge. The natural gas and electricity distribution services must be deprivatized,” the academics said.

“The factories that become inactive must be reserved for the production of respiratory devices, rapid test kits, masks and protective gear for healthcare professionals,” they added.

The academics also called for the prevention of stockpiling of cleaning and healthcare products.

“Security forces and voluntary civilians must be mobilized to aid the elderly and the population at risk in reaching food and health products,” they said.

“Public and private hospitals must provide health services free of charge and the hospitals failing to abide by this must be deprivatized,” they added.

The whole statement was published at sosyalbilimcilerincagrisi.com.