The medical chamber of the western province of İzmir has said that it's worried about the spread of the COVID-19 following the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) congress in the province.
Crowds were seen having completely disregarded social distancing measures during the congress which took place at the Halkapınar Sports Hall on Feb. 23.
Chairs were placed apart in the protocol section, but social distancing measures were not in place for approximately 8,000 citizens who sat in the tribunes.
“Meetings in closed areas are also within the framework of restrictions and are not to be allowed. Associations, NGOs and professional bodies cannot hold their general assemblies. They are waiting for restrictions to be lifted. When the situation is like this, I am having a difficulty in understanding how parties can hold crowded meetings,” İzmir Medical Chamber president Lütfi Çamlı said.
Çamlı said that the province could see a spike in infection figures 10 days later, referring to the incubation period of the virus. “We are awaiting Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and [Coronavirus] Science Committee to release a statement with regards to these meetings,” he said.
İYİ Party slams gov't
Lütfü Türkkan, the parliamentary group chair for the right-wing opposition Good (İYİ) Party, meanwhile, has said the only social activity that people are allowed to attend amid the COVID-19 pandemic is the provincial congresses of the AKP.
“You cannot at the moment go to a concert, theatre play or movie theatre. The only social activity that you can go to is the corona congresses of the AKP,” Türkkan said on Feb. 24, while speaking at a press meeting held in parliament.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the AKP has recently speeded up its provincial congresses, with more scheduled in the upcoming days ahead of the party's seventh ordinary congress process.
These crowded gatherings have received widespread criticism in the public as several restrictions are currently in place for restaurants, cafes, unions and associations.
The opposition says that the AKP is using the pandemic as an excuse to ban demonstrations and protests, but flocking the measures when it comes to serving its own agenda.
The AKP, on the other hand, claims that it pays “attention” to the virus measures, that there is limited participation in the congresses and images of crowds stem from “citizens' love for” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.