Turkey and COVID-19: Balancing Health and Economic Priorities

Policy brief

Tank, Pinar (2020) Turkey and COVID-19: Balancing Health and Economic Priorities, MidEast Policy Brief, 4. Oslo: PRIO.

Turkey’s response to COVID-19 has been effective, employing travel restrictions, selective lockdowns and widespread testing. A young population and a good public healthcare system have been critical to its success. As a global travel hub and the world’s largest migrant host nation, Turkey’s strategy has been important in stopping the spread of the coronavirus. However, lack of transparency and freedom of expression under the Justice and Development Party government (AKP) raises uncertainty regarding official statistics, and there are regional challenges to the government’s national policies. As Turkey’s economy hangs in the balance, the AKP has to weigh up economic needs versus public health, as the re-opening of society may undermine the progress made on containing the pandemic.

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