Duvar English 

The recent resignation of two officials from the Health Ministry has raised questions as to whether they are related to the approval and purchase of a COVID-19 test that was said to identify only 40 percent of positive cases. 

Chairman Adil Mardinoğlu and general secretary Hakan Türkez of the Health Institutes of Turkey (TÜSEB) announced their resignations from their posts via tweets last week. 

The resignations have ignited speculation among opposition circles as to whether they were related to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 tests, which were allegedly determined to identify just 40 percent of positive cases of the virus following an international examination of the test. 

Dr. Selçuk Kılıç, chairman of the Microbiology Reference Laboratories and Biological Products Department, who approved the tests in question, was recently removed from his post in a surprise decision. The department in question operates under the Health Ministry.

“Adil Mardinoğlu, the president of TÜSEB, which is part of the Health Ministry and which developed the test kits together with the Bioeksen firm, has resigned,” said main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Murat Emir in a statement. 

While TÜSEB did not comment on the rationale behind the resignations, it denied claims that it had any involvement with products produced by Bioeksen or was engaged in any kind of research and development partnership with the company. 

Dr. Cevat Şengül of the International Health Services Inc. (USHAŞ) resigned from the institution two months ago. USHAŞ possessed the sales rights for the Covid-19 test kits. Turkey Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (TİTCK) chairman Hakki Gürsov resigned from his position last week. Both institutions are part of the Health Ministry.

“I asked the Health Ministry in a parliamentary question on June 10 as to why USHAŞ’ local PCR tests were only purchased from the Bioeksen firm, and how many of these tests were purchased. However, the ministry did not respond to either of these. Up until now they have not provided the public with any transparent information on this topic,” Emir said.