Over 2 million exemption permits issued during Turkey’s lockdown

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More than 2 million “work exemption permits” that allow certain employees to continue work during the current full lockdown have been issued, the Interior Ministry has said.

The government said all business will be closed during the lockdown but there will be exemptions to ensure the continuity of some essential activities and special permissions will be issued for those workers.

The sectors that are exempt from the restrictions include production, manufacturing, food, hygiene and health services.

“A total of 2.05 million work exemption documents have been issued online through e-devlet and the Interior Ministry’s e-application platforms,” the ministry said in a statement on May 2.

Production and supply operations have to continue during the lockdown, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on May 1.

Turkey is under a full lockdown but not essential operations. Agricultural products keep being delivered; the main engine of trade is running,” he added.

Soylu also noted that that the authorities had issued travel permits for more than 178,000 people.

Intercity travel is also restricted during the lockdown and requires a special permission from authorities.

The minister, however, criticized the media coverage of situation in the cities, saying they gave a false impression that “everybody was out on the streets despite the restrictions.”

Soylu’s criciticms came after reports on traffic jams, particularly in Istanbul’s highways. Those scenes were also discussed widely on social media platforms, with people claiming that restrictions are not properly implemented.

“Some 95 percent of the population are at their homes. Cities’ squares are empty but there are vehicles on main roads and highways as people are commuting to work,” he said.

The minister noted that police units are carrying out checks on the roads to see if the motorists and people in those vehicles have the permission to travel, suggesting that the scenes of long line of vehicles stem from those inspections.

“We stop the vehicles at the entrances to the cities and bridges. We are trying to do our job,” Soylu said.

Hurriyet Daily News

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