Turkey hits record COVID-19 cases after change in reporting

Turkey hits record COVID-19 cases after change in reporting
Turkey became the country with the third highest number of daily new COVID-19 cases globally on Nov. 25 after changing the way it reports figures. (File/AFP)
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Updated 26 November 2020

Turkey hits record COVID-19 cases after change in reporting

Turkey hits record COVID-19 cases after change in reporting
  • Up till Wednesday, Turkey’s asymptomatic cases were not included in the number of daily reported cases
  • Turkish Medical Association estimated the average daily number of non-hospitalized cases to be above 47,000

ANKARA: Turkey became the country with the third highest number of daily new COVID-19 cases globally on Nov. 25 — behind the US and India — after changing the way it reports figures.
Turkish Health Ministry has begun publishing all positive cases, including asymptomatic ones, in its daily count following months-long harsh criticisms from the scientific world, including the World Health Organization, and opposition figures claiming that the measuring method used was hiding the true scale of the outbreak.
Up till Wednesday — since March — Turkey’s asymptomatic cases were not included in the number of daily reported cases.
The country recorded 28,351 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, including 6,814 with symptoms; 168 people had died on Nov. 25 due to COVID-19, raising the death toll to 12,840.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has warned that the country may need to take “radical measures” as the number of daily COVID-19 deaths has climbed to record levels.
However, Caghan Kizil, a specialist in neuroscience and genetics at Dresden University’s Faculty of Medicine, tweeted: “We have reminded you of your responsibility for months. You did not take it into account. You created this situation by yourself. Being together would be by listening to scientists. Building trust was most important. You failed it, Mr. Koca.”
The government only introduced partial curfews for weekends, and limitations on restaurants and cafes.
However, these measures remain disputed by medical groups and local governors.
Istanbul metropolitan mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, has criticized government efforts that did not curb the pandemic. On the discrepancy in the Ministry of Health’s daily COVID-19 data, he recently announced that “even only in Istanbul the daily death toll is 50-60 higher than the announced national number.”
The officially announced death rates are also controversial, as the ministry announced 168 COVID-linked deaths on Wednesday, while the Istanbul municipality’s cemeteries department recorded 203 deaths alone on the same day due to “infectious diseases.”
The occupancy rates in the intensive care units of hospitals in the three biggest cities of Turkey exceed 70 percent. The number was by far the highest reported by the Turkish government since the beginning of the outbreak.
The Turkish Health Minister announced that about 80 percent of people who tested positive were either asymptomatic or showed slight symptoms — highlighting the importance of including asymptomatic cases in the total tally. 
The Turkish Medical Association, the largest doctors’ group in the country, estimated that the average daily number of non-hospitalized cases was above 47,000. Many provinces in the country are also facing a third peak.
Meanwhile, due to the sharp decline in tourism figures, Turkey’s flagship air carrier Turkish Airlines needs $2.5 billion of bank loans and is seeking state assistance, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. Over the first nine months of 2020, the airline recorded a 5.2 billion Turkish lira ($0.66 billion) loss.


Turkey orders 238 detained in military probe over Gulen links

Turkey orders 238 detained in military probe over Gulen links
Updated 19 January 2021

Turkey orders 238 detained in military probe over Gulen links

Turkey orders 238 detained in military probe over Gulen links
  • Operation, covering 60 provinces, part of a four-year-old crackdown against the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen

ISTANBUL: Turkey has ordered the arrest of 238 people in an operation targeting suspects in the military allegedly linked to a Muslim preacher who Ankara says was behind a 2016 failed coup, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.
The operation, covering 60 provinces, was part of a four-year-old crackdown against the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. He denies involvement in the July 2016 putsch attempt, in which more than 250 people were killed.
Anadolu said 160 people had been detained in the latest police raids, ordered by prosecutors in Izmir. It said suspects were also targeted in northern Cyprus, where the Turkish military is deployed.
Among the suspects were 218 serving military personnel, including six colonels, three lieutenant colonels and nine majors, Anadolu said.
Since the coup attempt, about 80,000 people have been held pending trial and some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended. More than 20,000 people had been expelled from the Turkish military.