64 million people spend weekend at home in Turkey’s 48-hour lockdown
64 million people spend weekend at home in Turkey’s 48-hour lockdown
Nearly 64 million citizens spent the weekend at home after the government announced on April 10 a 48-hour curfew for a total of 31 provinces, including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus. Residents in some cities in the past couple of weekends hit the streets and flocked to parks dodging social distancing rules.

The curfew entered into force at April 10 midnight.

The Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced that bakeries, hospitals and pharmacies would remain open throughout the lockdown. The ministry reported that residents who live in the 31 provinces under lockdown largely observed the curfew order. Nearly 19,000 people were fined for violating the lockdown, according to the ministry.

“Critical needs such as bread are being met by social support groups, local administrations, mukhtars [neighborhood leaders], and bakery proprietors,” he also said.

Istanbul, the country’s largest city with a population of around 16 million, looked like a ghost town with its empty streets, no traffic jam - a hallmark of the metropolis - and deserted squares and promenades, which are usually swarmed by tourists and locals. Security forces set up checkpoints to enforce the curfew. The scenery was no different in the capital Ankara and İzmir, the country’s second and third largest cities by population. The police in the southern province of Adana hovered over the city with helicopters to check if residents comply with the curfew while in the central Eskişehir province authorities use security cameras to monitor the streets.

On a related note, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that pet owners, who go out to walk their dogs, would not be fined for violating the curfew and their fines would be revoked. He also noted that volunteers in coordination with local authorities could continue feeding stray animals in the cities which are on lockdown.
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