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Turkey has a lot to learn from Iran

First, revealing the truth is important.  We don’t claim the Ministry of Health is hiding cases, but it completely ignores views from the medical community that not enough testing has been done to find potential patients and local authorities are hiding cases

Turkey has a lot to learn from Iran

 

The Turkish administration is planning to ease corona-related restrictions on trade and social mobility by the end of Id (the religious holiday celebrating the ending of Ramadan). On Monday (today), the Cabinet will hold its 5th virtual meeting under President Erdogan to debate the road map for “reopening”. Turkey’s case  for “normalization” is based on declining daily case numbers, which have dropped to a 20-day nadir on Saturday and towards 2K mark.  Many medical authorities question the comprehensiveness of these figures, claiming the outbreak may not have peaked. If this is the case, Turkey will pay a steep prize for rushing to normalcy.

It should learn from the agonizing experience of Iran, which was forced to allow some businesses to open to avert an economic collapse, but is facing a second wave.

 

 

Corona in Iran:  What is the truth?

 

With 96 new deaths reported in Iran, the death toll from the coronavirus surged to 5,806, state media said on Monday.

 

A total of 991 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total infections to 91,472, Iran’s state broadcaster reported, citing a statement by Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour.

 

In Iran, one of the Middle Eastern countries hardest hit by the pandemic, COVID-19 was first detected in the city of Qom on Feb. 19, and then spread throughout the country.

 

The government refrained from imposing a total lockdown as seen in many other countries, but extended closures of educational institutions and banned cultural, religious, and sport gatherings.

 

Authorities, meanwhile, have in phases since April 11 allowed the reopening of businesses that were closed as part of measures to slow the spread of the virus. The state also plans to reopen mosques in parts of the country that have been consistently free of the virus.

 

But, is this the truth?  Are all corona cases being reported or registered?  The un-loyal opposition  draws a completely different picture:

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) announced on Sunday, April 26, 2020, the Coronavirus death toll in 298 cities in Iran has exceeded 35,800. The number of victims in Tehran is 5,950, Khorasan Razavi 2,860, Gilan 2,590, Isfahan 2,350, Mazandaran 2,350, East Azerbaijan 1450, Sistan and Baluchestan 750, Ardabil 670, and Yazd 530.

 

PA Intelligence cannot know the truth, but it stands for democracy and freedom of expression. The opposition’s voice must be heard.  In addition, there are also official voices fearing a second wave:

Iranian officials warned of a second wave of infections on Saturday, as the government announced another 76 deaths from the coronavirus.

 

The Middle East’s worst-hit country by the pandemic, had seen a reduction in cases through April – but officials fear the reopening of businesses over the past few weeks could lead to a fresh outbreak.

 

Alireza Zali, the capital Tehran’s coronavirus coordinator, was quoted by IRNA news agency as warning that the “hasty” relaxation of restrictions could “create new waves of sickness in Tehran and complicate efforts to bring the epidemic under control.”

 

A second wave of the epidemic would break the remaining few links of trust between the population and the regime, as well as bringing in its wake an economic calamity.

 

What Turkey should learn?

First, revealing the truth is important.  We don’t claim the Ministry of Health is hiding cases, but it completely ignores views from the medical community that not enough testing has been done to find potential patients and local authorities are hiding cases. News of outbreaks in prisons and reports from the Eastern Province of Van, with a strong Kurdish majority that the local government is hiding the true extent of the outbreak requires investigation.

 

There is right and wrong way to go about normalizing social life and the economy. Iran has done it the wrong way.  In major cities like Tehran, the opening of small businesses essentially defeated all social distancing measures.    The mullahs are not considering opening mosques to mass prayers, where the virus is almost certain to find new victims.

The right way is cautious baby steps and listening to medical community to find out where relaxing social restrictions could do the least damage. Primary schools come to mind, not shopping centers or touristic facilities, as reportedly Ankara is planning too.

 

Like Iran, but for different reasons, Turkey is economically very weakened by years of mismanagement, a sickly currency and declining confidence in the government.  According to some analysts, it is already on the verge of a balance of payments crisis. A hasty step to re-open the economy to avert a recession could trigger a depression.

 

 

PA Intelligence  Editorial Board

 

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