Duvar English

An Istanbul-based non-governmental organization that focuses on public health rights warned that unorganized relaxation of COVID-19 precaution measures would deepen the effects of the pandemic in the country.

In a report that outlined civil rights violations in Istanbul during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Civil Rights Association (SHD) noted that a non-centralized relaxation of measures would create fatal results in the city.

The report also noted that a plan that’s not inclusive enough would strain socioeconomic activity nationwide.

“There’s need for an exit strategy from the pandemic to normalize citizens’ lives, heal social and financial wounds and prepare all segments of society,” said the SHD report.

Failure to close borders soon enough and allowing returning pilgrims to travel in the country for too long were the gravest errors on the part of the government, the report said.

The report also said that the government’s reluctance to halt non-essential production facilitated the spread of COVID-19 among workers, and that the lack of federal financial aid exacerbated unemployment.

“Another mismanagement that worsened the pandemic was the lack of planning around curfews and distribution of supplies,” the report added.

The report also criticized governmental communication policies for a lack of transparency, noting that it impeded COVID-19 relief efforts.

Lastly, SHD criticized Ankara’s reluctance to cooperate with local governments, potentially referring to the halt of Istanbul and Ankara municipalities relief campaign by the government.

“While citizens were worried about their livelihoods, there was a brawl between central and local governments. They victimized citizens by failing to form an inclusive relief plan.”