Fahrettin Altun, the Communications Director of the Republic of Turkey, answers New York Times about Turkey's ignored domestic and international efforts against the pandemic
Fahrettin Altun, the Communications Director of the Republic of Turkey, answered New York Times in a letter published by the newspaper
On 1 May 2020, The New York Times Editorial published an article titled “In a Crisis, True Leaders Stand Out.” In the article, some countries like Germany which have higher mortality rates than Turkey in Covid-19 pandemic were hailed as “successful examples” for fighting the virus.
In response, Altun penned a refutation to the article, drawing attention to the facts of Turkey’s positive actions against the virus outbreak both within and outside its borders. The Editorial Board published Altun’s response. Here is the full text:
"From Turkey: Our Response to the Virus
To the Editor:
'In a Crisis, True Leaders Stand Out' (editorial, May 1) did not recognize Turkey’s accomplishments against the coronavirus.
Turkey has formed a scientific advisory board, comprising leading medical experts and professors of infectious diseases, to devise its game plan in response to the pandemic. Since then, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s administration has been managing Turkey’s response based on scientists’ recommendations.
The numbers speak for themselves.
While your editorial hailed Germany — where the Covid-19 mortality rate is nearly 83 per million — as a success story, Turkey, where that number is about 40, was notably absent.
Thanks to its free and universal health care system, into which President Erdogan’s government has invested billions since 2002, Turkey successfully slowed down new infections and has treated more than 60,000 patients.
Finally, our powerful manufacturing industry, in cooperation with relevant agencies, enabled the government to provide surgical masks to all citizens free of charge. Turkey has also donated or sold medical supplies and ventilators to 55 countries, including the United States.
To draw the right lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is crucial to acknowledge all successful nations and learn from their experiences.
The writer is Turkey’s communications director."