Turkey is set to officially mark the 97th anniversary of its Republic Day on Oct. 29 with limited celebrations expected as the country is foreseeing a sharp rise in the COVID-19 cases with the arrival of the flu season.
The Interior Ministry has sent a circular to the governor’s offices of all 81 provinces in the country, laying out measures for the upcoming Republic Day.
The ministry said in the circular that the celebrations for laying wreaths would be held with participants wearing protective face masks and following social distance rules.
The participants will include one representative each from the parliament’s political parties, public institutions, veteran and martyr foundations, according to the circular.
“No other program will be allowed to be organized by any other institution apart from the ceremony and celebration program approved by the governor,” it said in the circular.
The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chair, Özgür Özel, has slammed the government over restrictions brought to the celebrations due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“You cannot arbitrarily ban our citizens from celebrating our Republic Day by complying with pandemic conditions and hygiene rules,” Özel tweeted.
“Will the virus, which is not transmitted in Ahlat, Hagia Sophia or during ruling party congresses, be transmitted on Oct. 29?” he asked, referring to collective events carried out by the government before.
But the Interior Ministry refuted claims about any prohibition on the celebrations on Oct. 26 in a written statement.
Meanwhile, hundreds of associations, law societies, non-governmental organizations, government offices, city councils, schools and businesses have already released celebration messages to mark the anniversary.
Except for celebrations in a digital environment, local authorities are expected to celebrate Republic Day with light and sound shows in the streets due to COVID-19 measures.
Hurriyet Daily News