„Turkey’s fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) is generally accepted to be rational, well-timed, not too badly planned, and fairly effective. At the time when the German case toll was 7,000 (and the Dutch and UK case tolls were at around 2,000 each), Turkey’s was just 98. And when, on March 19, the Italian death toll surpassed China’s at 4,400, the Turkish mortality figure was just three. The government sealed borders—most significantly with Iran—just in time; cancelled all public gatherings and events, including football games; ordered most businesses to be shuttered; and launched an effective awareness campaign to keep Turks at home. About 3,000 Turkish pilgrims on their way home from Mecca were quarantined. The Turkish awareness rate of coronavirus was 100% by mid-March, according to one poll.
But several questions remain unanswered. Why did the Turkish religious authorities allow 21,500 people to travel to Mecca in the first place? Would it not have been safer for them to wait to fulfill their pilgrimage until after the world goes back to normal? And why were only 3,000 pilgrims quarantined? The other 18,500 returnees from Mecca are walking free in Turkey.“ (…)