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BNE IntelliNews – Erdogan takes action to curb the medical association critical of the lack of transparency of coronaviruses by turkeys

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged the Turkish parliament to legislate to reduce the influence of medical associations and other institutions that have criticized his government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).

The Turkish Medical Association (TTB) is a particular target. For several months, the group warned that official data underestimated the true scale of the coronavirus pandemic in Turkey. On September 30, an opposition MP got access to a screenshot from the Ministry of Health which he said showed the number of infections in Turkey to be around 19 times the figure presented by officials. Responding to his claims, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca admitted that the published data did not include asymptomatic cases positive for COVID-19. The UK quickly removed Turkey from its list of travel corridors, which dealt a further blow to the tourism industry besieged by Turkey.

In response to the Kocas revelations and disclosure, the TTB said on Twitter on October 1: You [the government] did not conduct a transparent process. You hid the truth. You haven’t stopped the pandemic from spreading.

Earlier, in late September, Devlet Bahceli, who heads the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the ultra-nationalist party that serves as a junior partner of Erdogans’ government coalition, said the TTB was guilty of treason and should be shut down and remarked in a tweet: The Turkish Medical Association is as dangerous as the coronavirus and spreads threats. The association of doctors with the word Turkish in its name should be closed immediately and without delay.

The TTB called for more transparency and coordination on the part of the government, as well as more aggressive measures to contain the virus outbreak and protect medical staff.

The government said the public was seeing the key figures in the case.

In a speech to members of his AKP party, reported by Reuters, Erdogan said the TTB and other business associations were clearly acting in a way that was unconstitutional and the issue had reached an unbearable level.

He proposed a regulatory change similar to the July one that allowed multiple bars in a single city. Lawyers criticized the decision as the latest in a series of measures aimed at eroding the independence of the judiciary.

Erdogan said the regulatory change would allow better representation of doctors than through the TTB alone, and should be enacted quickly as a top priority for parliament.



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