Amnesty International started a campaign to urge Turkey's Justice Ministry to release journalists, opposition politicians and activists from prison amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The NGO noted that jailed prominent novelist Ahmet Altan and imprisoned businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala are both over 60, and former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, has been suffering from a heart condition in prison.
Ahmet Altan ‘awaits coronavirus in jail’ as Turkish authorities keep political prisoners behind bars
Prominent novelist Ahmet Altan has penned a letter from Silivri Prison, saying that he awaits coronavirus (COVID-19) in his prison cell, as Turkish authorities continue to keep political prisoners behind bars. "I’m writing this as I await in a prison cell the fierce attack of a virus that kills people my age. I am not optimistic for myself, but for the humanity of which I am a part," the 70-year-old novelist said in his letter.
The number of newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients in Turkey had increased for two days as of May 24, a spike that comes nearly two weeks after the re-opening of malls, hairdressers and small businesses on May 11. The number of patients who died from the virus have also increased with 32 fatalities on May 24, five more persons than the death toll of May 22.
Turkish Spider-Man Burak Soylu has distributed candy to entertain children at home amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. "I threw candy to children in their balconies. They experienced Eid to some extent. I'm happy to see children smile," he said.
Turkish professor from Harvard Medical School Emrah Altındiş slammed the Turkish Health Ministry's announcement that the COVID-19 reproduction rate had dropped by 50% in the past week. Altındiş also criticized Health Minister Fahrettin Koca's prediction that a second wave of infections wasn't expected.
Turkey’s senior citizens will be allowed to travel to their hometowns starting on May 21, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, with the Interior Ministry announcing its conditions. The Interior Ministry, in its notice sent to 81 provinces, said that the senior citizens will be able to go wherever they want on condition of staying there for at least 30 days. Medical records of the senior citizens and their companions will be sought before handing permits.
Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has said that there are 156 soldiers who tested positive for the coronavirus, adding that the Turkish Armed Forces is among the most successful armies in the world in terms of the number of cases. Akar noted that there are no coronavirus cases in the operation areas as a result of the adopted measures.
A number of Turkish actors unions have published a guidebook concerning the conditions of actors working amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The guidebook cautions against overcrowded sets and says that all employees involved in the pre-production, shooting and post-production processes must not work without insurance.
The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) has warned against resuming medical tourism, saying that the move would result in a health disaster amid the ongoing pandemic. "We still don't know the consequences of reopening shopping malls and think that bringing patients from abroad on such an early date like May 20 into the hospitals here will be harmful to the health of society,” TTB chairman Sinan Adıyaman told Duvar.
Turkey’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 28 to total 4,199 and new confirmed cases rose by 1,022 to bring the country’s total to 151,615, Health Ministry data showed on May 19.
Three HDP deputies have slammed police over lining 13 people facing a wall for violating the curfew imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. "This is governing without a constitution and law. This is the ordinary fascism of the Presidential Palace's state, in which the people's wills are crushed daily," lawmaker Serpil Kemalbay said, while another deputy, Murat Sarısaç asked, "Are you apprehending prisoners of war?"
Turkey will impose a four-day curfew in 81 provinces starting on May 23 as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus during the Eid al-Fitr religious holiday, President Erdoğan said. The president also said schools would not re-open this academic year and education would continue in person in September with the new academic year.
A nurse has claimed that he looked after children with cancer when he was COVID-19 positive at the Çapa Faculty of Medicine in Istanbul, saying that he went to the emergency room of the hospital two weeks ago for showing coronavirus symptoms, but was told that he didn't have high fever and was not diagnosed with the virus. "They didn't even make a test. I served child chemotherapy patients for two weeks," he told Duvar.
Eren Yıldırım, the CHP's Yüreğir district youth branch head, was arrested over allegedly attacking a group of aid workers of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "Yıldırım was arrested upon orders from the government. I condemn the judiciary for issuing rulings upon orders," CHP deputy leader Onursal Adıgüzel said.
Six members of Congress, including Ilhan Omar, penned a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging the government to engage with Ankara to secure the release of political prisoners in Turkey, requesting that the U.S. government discuss the equitable application of release policies, particularly in the context of U.S. financial or other material assistance to Turkey.