President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed municipalities run by the main opposition CHP for launching donation campaigns to collect money to be used in the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic., saying "There is no point in being a state within the state." Eleven CHP metropolitan municipalities, meanwhile, released a statement on April 1, saying that it's legal for the municipalities to accept donations.
Truck driver Malik Yılmaz, who criticized the government's calls for staying home amid the coronavirus outbreak due to his obligation to work, was detained and released on March 29. "You're saying, 'Stay home Turkey.' How can I? I'm not rich. I'm a worker. I'm a truck driver. I can't earn my bread if I don't work. I can't pay my bills and rent. Not being able to pay these is worse than dying," he said in a video.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on March 19 that some 9,800 people are currently under quarantine in Turkey as the country ramps up measures to combat the coronavirus spread.
Turkish and Greek academics both agree that Turkey, Greece and the European Union as a whole failed to fully abide by the 2016 migrant deal. While Greek academic Konstantinos Tsitselikes said the number of people who crossed into Europe was is closer to 1,000 rather than the 140,000 claimed by Ankara, Turkish academic Murat Erdoğan says the EU's refusal to accept the migrants is justified.
As Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu claims over 130 thousand migrants have left the country through Edirne, the encampment near the Greek border remains crowded, encouraging police to redirect migrants to seaways as a crossing into Europe. Some 21 migrants were injured when a bus collided with a car on the highway to Çanakkale, some 42 migrants were rescued from a stranded dinghy near Lesbos and migrants already on the Greek island are camping out on the beach.
German Chancellor Merkel has criticized Turkey's move to ease border restrictions and accused Turkish President Erdoğan of pressuring the EU “on the back of the refugees." Meanwhile, EU interior ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting on March 4 to discuss the situation at the EU's border.
Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu urged Greece to provide asylum to the migrants waiting at the border between the two countries, particularly the Pazarkule Border Gate where crowds have been piled at for five days. Meanwhile, Soylu said over 100,000 migrants have crossed over to Europe in Edirne as clashes continue between the crowds and Greek border patrol that's getting increasingly stricter.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said that the PKK is a women's organization, adding that the ratio of women in PKK's all acts until today is 56 percent. "So women took place in these acts more than men," Soylu told state-run Anadolu Agency on Feb. 27, adding that the group did this to get support from the West.
Prosecutors have dropped all charges against a lawyer probed for referring to Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu as "bald-headed" in a social media post. “Taking into account the decisions handed down by the Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Court regarding the politicians, the uttered statement is evaluated to be a vulgar remark [instead of insult]," the Adana Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said.