Addressing the nation on the efforts to combat coronavirus, President Erdoğan said: “The life of each of our citizens is equally valuable to us as we act in a management mentality which puts people first. That is why we say, ‘Stay Home Turkey!’”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan addressed the nation on the measures taken in Turkey against the coronavirus (COVID-19).
President Erdoğan said:
“My August Nation,
I affectionately salute you with all my heartfelt feelings.
As Turkey, we, along with the entire world, first and foremost the countries around us, are faced with a threat the kind of which has rarely been seen in near history.
This threat is a contagious disease.
The COVID-19 disease, which first broke out in China and is known as new coronavirus pandemic, has affected almost the entire world.
Turkey is one of the rare countries to have closely followed the developments and taken timely measures since the disease first emerged.
Our Ministry of Health established a crisis center as affiliated to itself and, right after that, formed the Science Committee in early January, even before the first case of death took place in China.
Our country has started to take effective measures against COVID-19 as of January 20.
On the first day of February, Turkish citizens were brought back to Turkey and put in quarantine for 14 days, following which they thankfully went home in good health.
Flights to and from the countries where the disease escalated to the level of pandemic, first and foremost China, were cancelled and land crossings with these countries were limited or, when necessary, closed.
All of our citizens transported to Turkey from abroad were put through medical examinations while entering the country and those in a suspicious state were put in quarantine.
The first-ever case of COVID-19 disease in our country was spotted on March 10.
In the following days, we have rapidly implemented a wide range of measures such as closing schools, postponing foreign assignments, putting on hold the services provided in places where people come together, and canceling certain activities.
The number of citizens with COVID-19 reached 47 within a week after the first-ever diagnosis, with the first death taking place on March 18.
We announced a financial support package worth nearly TL100 billion following the comprehensive assessment meeting we held on March 18.
Accordingly, our Parliament has introduced the necessary regulations.
Therefore, we have shown by consolidating the Unemployment Fund that we stand with the employees, and by consolidating the Credit Guarantee Fund that we stand with the tradesmen and craftsmen.
What is more, we have increased the lowest retirement pension to TL1,500 and brought the payment date of Eid al-Fitr bonus forward to early April.
We have also introduced regulations which ease the terms for short-time working payment, shorten the compensatory working time, and enhance social aid.
We have announced one by one additional measures both to fight the disease and deal with its economic impacts.
We will continue to take all the necessary steps in the period ahead.
As of today, the number of people with COVID-19 worldwide has reached 426 thousand, and 19 thousand people have died thus far.
In our country, we are currently monitoring 53 thousand citizens at homes and 8,554 cases at hospitals.
While 797 of them have been discharged from hospital after total recovery, samples have been taken from 4,603 people for further examination.
1,872 people, who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, are now under treatment.
44 patients of ours have unfortunately lost their lives while receiving treatment.
I wish Allah’s mercy upon the dead and extend my condolences to their relatives.
My August Nation,
As is known, this virus leads to deadly outcomes for chronic patients and the elderly the most.
And, the only way to prevent our patients and elderly from being infected is to voluntarily put ourselves in quarantine, that is to not leave our homes unless we have to.
In fact, all our patients, who lost their lives, had other diseases besides the COVID-19.
It is a must particularly for our elderly to not go out by any means during this process and to continue their lives at their homes for both their and other people’s health.
The reason for our sensitivity about our elderly is not that they infect other people, but to prevent them from being infected.
Therefore, we should protect our elderly, the apples of our eyes, with love, respect and care.
We cannot approve even the slightest disrespect that will hurt our elderly.
Rest assured of the capacity and quality of our medical services.
In the last 17 years, Turkey has put into practice the most robust and widespread general health insurance in the world, built the most modern hospitals, and entered this process as a country that has reached the highest standards of service with its over 1 million medical personnel.
Today our country has an enormous medical army of 165 thousand doctors, 490 thousand other medical personnel including 205 thousand nurses and 360 thousand support personnel working at the Ministry of Health, universities and the private sector.
We have initiated works to hire 32 thousand additional medical personnel.
Also, thanks to our developed production power, we are self-sufficient in terms of producing many materials the health-care industry needs.
In the past, we used to ask for help from the World during such crisis eras.
Today, 69 countries from around the world requested help from Turkey. The needed materials were sent to 17 of them.
We are doing our best to stand with our friends during these troubled days.
We are prepared for all possible scenarios.
It is possible for us to overcome this process in the shortest time possible and with the least damage possible by curbing the spreading speed of the disease through a good isolation.
Otherwise, as we have seen in many examples at our environ, it is inevitable for us to face with more negative outcomes and thus more drastic measures.
While we, as the state, do what falls to us with all our institutions, we expect support and understanding from our citizens.
All our units, healthcare, security and social aid institutions in particular, which will prevent the spread of this disease, continue their works in a spirit of complete mobilization.
We also follow with appreciation the efforts of our municipalities, our citizens who work in supply chains of food and cleaning products, and of our institutions, which continue their operations in production and service sectors, to support the economy.
All we ask our citizens is to strictly obey the warnings of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior to break the spread chain of the disease in the critical days ahead.
Thus, we will all together be able to resume our normal lives in the shortest time possible.
The life of each of our citizens is equally valuable to us as we act in a management mentality which puts people first.
That is why we say, ‘Stay Home Turkey’.
That is why we ask to pay attention to social distancing, in other words to keeping a distance, which will prevent the disease from being transmitted, between ourselves and others.
That is why we advise to pay attention to hygiene and to definitely wash our hands or disinfect them with cologne especially after external contacts.
That is why we particularly dote on our elderly.
That is why we expect support, patience and understanding from our citizens.
My August Nation,
We as a country and a nation have overcome all problems and attacks we have been faced with so far by standing in unity and solidarity.
Inshallah, we will defeat the coronavirus threat in the same way.
We may be up against an invisible virus but no enemy is greater than our nation’s unity, solidarity, strength and sagacity.
The Cains and Abels, the sincere and the scheming ones show themselves during these days and the difference between the selfish and the selfless is revealed.
We trust that our nation will make the right choice out of all these traits.
We have no doubt that our Lord will help us through these difficult times.
We wholeheartedly believe that we will once again witness the profound meaning behind our Lord’s divine order: ‘…Perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you.’
The World is headed towards an era where nothing will be the same in the aftermath of this pandemic and a new global political, economic and social system will be built.
We as Turkey are entering this new era with great advantages and a strong infrastructure.
Before us lies an opportunity to achieve our goals for 2023 sooner than we expect.
Inshallah a bright future awaits us.
As long as we pay heed to warnings, be patient, remain cautious and pay attention to personal and environmental hygiene.
We will take measures, fight and act wisely. Man proposes Allah disposes.
I wish you all good health.”