Turkey's battle with Covid‐19: a multifaceted investigation

Öztürk, Ahmet Erdi, Erkoc, Taptuk Emre and Dogan, Salih (2020) Turkey's battle with Covid‐19: a multifaceted investigation. Middle East Policy, 27 (3). pp. 125-137. ISSN 1475-4967


After emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 the deadly coronavirus affected Turkey much later than other European and Middle Eastern countries. Although airports in Istanbul are points of intersection between East and West, and despite the fact that Ankara was late to sever travel connections with places where the virus struck forcefully, such as Iran and China, Turkey did not see its first case until March 11 - much later than many countries. Turkey’s geographic position, the delayed realization by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of the gravity of the situation, and society’s inadequate prevention of the spread of the disease prompted predictions that Turkey’s situation would be more dramatic than Italy’s. Nevertheless, Turkey fought the disease in a manner that could be dubbed respectable based on what the official figures reveal to us, even if it has not exhibited comparable economic competence. This article seeks to discuss Turkey’s fight with Covid-19, from late 2019 through late May 2020, from a multifaceted and comparative perspective. It will touch upon the domains of domestic policy, economics and foreign policy and contrast the number of cases, deaths, administered tests and rates of recovery with countries that suffered major outbreaks, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Iran and France.

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