Erol Tüfekҫi (left) at a meeting with a Turkish entrepreneur
Erol Tüfekçi runs the Bremeninvest office in Izmir, a major city in the west of the country. “The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure has stopped all international flights as part of its measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. Local flights are only allowed with a special permit from the governor, and public transport between major urban centres may only be used if you have special permission. Many shops have now closed, and all types of gatherings are prohibited for the time being. Although there is no total lockdown here, the government measures certainly feel like one.
Large shopping centres have been temporarily closed, with the exception of pharmacies and small retailers, as have major chains such as IKEA, Mediamarkt and other electronics retailers. Any store that is open has now cut its business hours, and the maximum number of customers permitted in shops at any one time is not allowed to exceed 10 per cent of the retail space. Everybody else has to wait.
People aged over 65 and those with a compromised immune system or chronic complaints are not allowed to go out at all. The police are helping the elderly with their shopping; they will visit door to door if they have been called out to provide assistance. Otherwise, it is family members who provide help. We go shopping for ourselves and our parents once a week, but otherwise we avoid leaving the apartment.
We try to keep ourselves motivated so as not to get depressed by this sad situation. We also regularly exercise in the evening, drink lots of water and take vitamins to stay healthy. I have been working from home for two weeks now, and I mainly communicate via email, WhatsApp and telephone. Almost all companies in Turkey have switched to working from home wherever possible, while others, such as vehicle manufacturers, have temporarily halted production. Manufacturers of medical goods are controlled more closely by the state and are currently prohibited from exporting their products.
The government has put together a €15 billion stimulus package, and two million families who are in receipt of standard social security will receive an additional 1,000 lira (€140) as part of the government’s Economic Stability Shield. Pensioners will also benefit from early payment in April of a 1,000 lira Ramadan Feast bonus due in May. In addition, state and private bank loans are easier to obtain and are available in larger amounts.”