By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL) – “Nothing will be as it was, we need to be prepared,” Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said in his Monday news conference discussing Turkey’s gradual reopening. Erdogan reiterated that social distancing and wearing masks is still a requirement and that lockdowns will still occur as the country prepares for its eventual reopening. The president said that 15 cities will remain subject to curfews and lockdowns on weekdays and weekends. He announced that the upcoming Eid al-Fitr holiday will include a lockdown from May 23-26 in 81 Turkish provinces. Since May 11, hair salons, barber shops and shopping malls opened for business.
In addition, Erdogan said the government eased tax and credit payments as well as provided cash payments to over six million people – initiating support progams for those in need. He added that the Health Ministry Board has created a ‘normalization calendar’ to be announced next week. The president explained that new guidelines and procedures on reopening will be available online then. During the next 15 days there will be restrictions on intercity travel and mosques will have restrictions for gatherings with the exception of noon prayers.
Erdogan said: “We will reclaim what we lost during this time,” and explained that there will be new protocol and a new redesigned economic plan. Part of that plan are the two newest hospitals set to officially open on Thursday with 1,000 bed capacity. On the economic front, he warned the countries that he said recently embezzled money and caused the Turkish lira to drop sharply against the dollar. Erdogan added that Turkey has developed a “mechanism” to thwart the currency fraud and he said his government will respond to those who have committed such fraud.