Duvar English

A document titled “COVID-19 normalization plan” with the presidential seal raised question marks in terms of its authenticity on social media, as the file can’t be found on any official website.

The document dated May 4 is called “Normalization Plan_R3”, the last bit potentially standing for “revision three,” and outlines when COVID-19 precautions would be lifted.

A number of Turkish media outlets reported that the PDF wasn’t authentic and that no “normalization plan” was officially announced.

Metadata of the document show that it was created on a Mac computer on the application PowerPoint May 3, at 8.24 p.m.

The 25-page document groups the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions by themes, including curfews, transportation and trade.

The document alleged that the normalization process began May 4 and has been coordinated by Vice President Fuat Oktay.

The document claimed that the Turkish Health Ministry would prepare handbooks for multiple branches of work on May 4, but the only guidelines the ministry released recently were for hair salons on May 7.

The document outlined a plan that lasts through September, although it shows many restrictions lifted in June and July.

  • May 4: Turkey’s Health Ministry prepares COVID-19 guidelines for certain branches of work life.
  • May 5: A gradual increase begins for Turkish identity card applications, as well as driver’s license and passport applications.
  • May 11: Stores that sell clothing, accessories and kitchenware reopen.
  • May 20: The government re-evaluates public servants’ time off and potential plans for flexible working hours. The Health Ministry starts training for workplaces about COVID-19 prevention measures.
  • May 27: The curfew on seniors above 65, and persons under 20 is lifted. State-offered psychosocial counseling will be available remotely and in-person. Training for Islamic pilgrimages commence. Entrance and exits to and from 13 provinces is allowed again, with those being Kayseri, Aydın, Antalya, Muğla and Mersin in the Mediterranean, the southeastern provinces of Mardin, Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep, Erzurum, Van and Diyarbakır, and the Black Sea provinces of Ordu and Trabzon.
  • June 1: Weekend curfews end. Public entertainment venues, cafes, swimming pools, spas and gyms reopen, along with archaeological sites. Wedding venues are allowed to operate at 25% occupancy. Cinemas, theaters and performance venues reopen. The number of pandemic hospitals is gradually reduced, non-pandemic hospitals resume operations and COVID-19 precautions in hospitals begin to be relaxed. Workplace safety inspections are repeated to businesses that haven’t been inspected until this date. Daycares, kindergartens reopen at low occupancy. The process of assigning some 20,000 public teachers begins.
  • June 8: Professional training centers and community education centers reopen.
  • June 12: Mass prayers in mosques begin on the condition of maintaining appropriate distances. Friday mass prayers begin to be held outside mosques.
  • June 15: Parks and picnic areas open. Borders open to countries where the “outbreak is under control.” A handbook for students’ parents and teachers is prepared to help guide school life after the pandemic. Universities resume their standard academic calendar and in-person classes begin. Public dormitories reopen to students.
  • June 20: The national High School Entrance Exam (LGS) takes place.
  • June 27, 28: The national University Entrance Exams (YKS) are held.
  • June 30: The practice of reduced working hours ends.
  • July 1: New residents are allowed into nursing homes, transfers are allowed again. Family counseling by the state is held in-person again. Limitations of visitors in kindergartens lifted, babysitting allowed on the condition of good health on all parties. Loan payments, tax returns resume. Health workers allowed to take time off again, transfers resume. The practice of one physician excusing one patient for a maximum of 10 days resumes. Rehabilitation centers open.
  • July 15: State-funded college counseling for high school seniors begins.
  • July 17: Restrictions on layoffs lifted, standard regulations enforced on union activities (lockouts, strikes, labor agreements etc.).
  • August 1: Workplace trainings and social security inspections resume. Government-funded research on “The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Family Dynamics” is published.
  • August 10: Provincial quarantines begin to be relaxed.
  • August 24: Schools reopen for a make-up session for the 2019-2020 school year. Qur’an classes resume.
  • September 1: Financial aid payments to university students starts. Preparation for off-season pilgrimage trips in 2021 begin.