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Only in Turkey: Opposition Objects Free Mask Deliveries to All Citizens

Since novel Corona virus rocked the world upside down with its speedy infection rate, face masks became the most vital and scarce tool to fight back. The situation became so dire that even several developed western countries accused each other of piracy of masks around the globe.

Under those circumstances, Turkish government on Sunday announced the latest and perhaps the most important Corona virus measure. Ankara will now deliver face masks free of charge to everyone in the country by simply making an online request. However, Turkish opposition right away objected the policy on most absurd grounds.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday during his address to the nation that entering shops and marketplaces without a mask would be banned. Turkish Health Ministry then took action accordingly and on Sunday night it was announced that everyone in the country between the ages of 20-65 would be entitled to 5 masks free of charge per week. Filling out a short online form on Turkish Post Cargo website would be enough to receive the masks. Turkey had recently imposed a curfew on people younger than 20 and older than 65 years old to stem the spread of the virus.

When the whole world including developed nations have been in fight to secure masks for at least health workers, Turkish government would deliver free of charge masks to citizens at their doorsteps. However, members of Turkey’s notorious main opposition objected the policy right away.

Gaye Usluer, a member of CHP and a medical professor, posted a tweet saying that it is state’s responsibility to distribute masks but it should not be through an online request. “Isn’t too hard to distribute masks through pharmacies. Delivering them home through online request is making it harder for the public access,” Usluer continued on her tweet. Former CHP MP actually found it easier and more logical if people went out to the pharmacies to get their masks. “That is certainly an open invitation to the spread of Corona,” said Murat Sarikaya, a medical doctor conducting daily Corona tests through out Istanbul. Sarikaya says millions of people storming to pharmacies would just provide fertile ground for the spread of the virus.

Current CHP Parliament member Necati Tigli was also one if the countless opposition members to criticize the mask delivery policy of the government. Tigli said on his personal twitter account that it was waste of time to force people to fill out an online form. “Pharmacies and other health institutions should provide the masks,” he continued. Editor in chief of multi-lingual news portal Eha Media, Ozturk Aydin, reacted to CHP MP by implying that the form only asks for name address so the ministry could deliver the masks.

Turkey detected its first Corona virus case on March 11th. Turkey is one of the few countries that placed strict measures from the start to stop the spread of novel Corona virus. Right after first Corona case in Turkey, government has started to quarantine everyone arriving from abroad. Something that Germany just started pondering as of April 6th after having more than 100 thousand Corona virus infections.

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About the author

Ahmet Hamdi Şişman

Ahmet Hamdi Şişman

Mr. Ahmet Hamdi Şişman is a journalist

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