In the past four months, none of our municipalities prepared the infrastructure for washing our hands. They were not able to meet the sidewalk conditions of 1.5 meters width for the social distancing of pedestrians. Almost all of our 1,397 municipalities have failed according to these criteria, including opposition ones.
The Turkish government needs to take independent scientific advice into account if it really wants to gain total control of the pandemic. Attempting to suppress critics, the media and scientific advice is not the solution.
Vural Özdemir writes: Both scientists and journalists seek the truth. But the truth is caught between a rock and a hard place with COVID-19. We are facing, on the one hand, an anti-science movement and, on the other hand, scientific essentialism that omits the role of power politics and human values in the making of truth. As an antidote, we need a new narrative on evidence frameworks in journalism that expands on the classic 5W + 1H.
As someone who experienced uprisings from the crisis in Argentina to Gezi, including Tahrir and Al Kasbah, the best “advice” that I can come up with is to remind Europe of her obligation to recognize the global uprising in the name of dignity, the word she was once so passionate about.
Broadly defined unemployment in Turkey has reached 39 percent according to the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK). The union disputed recently revealed official unemployment rate of 13.2 percent. DİSK claimed that only those looking for a job for a period of four weeks as unemployed were reflected in the official numbers.
Şafak Göktürk writes: This pandemic will surely have an abiding significance beyond its pathology. Yet, it will more likely be owing to its role in sharpening public awareness about our already existing afflictions. Of all the leaders, worst performers turned out to be the populists.
The relationship between the government and the capital class is now at a deadlock. While the “Daddy State” maintains order, it now also manages the Central Bank and meddles with foreign currency. And though the AKP-led government is solely responsible for maintaining order, its economic fate depends on external factors.
Vural Özdemir writes: Turkey has reopened to a new normal on June 1. The new normal is a red herring; a smoke screen to manufacture consent to put unchecked political power, profits and wealth over health. There will be a greater risk for conflict in the next 12 months in societies divided into haves and have-nots with the pandemic.
It appears that Turkey’s capital-owning class largely agrees that the pandemic has brought two opportunities. The first has to do with broadening their vast exploitation of labor. The second has to do with obtaining a strategic place in the global supply chain, which is expected to break off from China.
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki discuss the latest debates in Ankara that have triggered a new wave of polarization in Turkish politics. They try to find answers why President Erdoğan has shifted from a more calculated tone during the first weeks of the pandemic and opted for raising tensions by deliberately attacking and demonizing the opposition.
Today, the ruling AKP government is seeking a new consolidation formula that does not rely on voter support. Instead, it shall rely on a survival rhetoric spearheaded by MHP leader Bahçeli and based on the alleged “local and national” majority.
Girls are always the topic of political discussion in this country. Since the parliament formed that notorious divorce commission in 2015, we have been discussing early marriages and abuse. Statistics have shown an increase in abuse. This is the consequence of a government that has been obsessed with pardoning abusers “despite the general view of the public.”
Pınar Öğünç writes: The pandemic has sent Turkish journalists, especially local ones, in a dire state. A journalist based in the the Black Sea town of Samsun says that they are expected to turn a blind eye to some events. "Those brave enough to write the news as it is are often treated as lepers. If they engage in criticism, no one will end up printing their work," he told me.
Workloads have increased and working conditions have gotten worse for women in Turkey amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a recent report by an independent NGO. The problems that working women face include being fired, being put on unpaid leave, not receiving their wages, and having unbearable work loads between their jobs being coupled together with their household tasks.
Duvar English’s editor-in-chief Cansu Çamlıbel and pollster Can Selçuki are joined by Boğaziçi University's Mert Arslanalp to discuss possible long-term implications of the COVID-19 tracking app introduced by the Turkish government. Arslanalp says that the pandemic apps and measures carry potential risks of being used by the government to extend emergency-like suspensions of liberties without formally declaring a state of emergency.