Pandemic and Politics

Turkey’s Moment of Truth: Over 62,000 Covid Cases In a Single Day

After months of incompetent handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Turkey’s government faces a brutal reckoning: 62,797 cases in a single day.

Abdullah Ayasun
6 min readApr 15, 2021
Passengers try to keep social distancing at a subway in Turkey. (Photo Credit: EPA)

After months of fumble approach against a no-nonsense enemy, Turkey’s record of nearly 63,000 Covid-19 cases in a single day reveals the true scope of a national disaster long in the making.

On Wednesday, the public, skeptical about the government’s official statistics for a long time, was rattled to know the depth of the health crisis across the nation, while access to mass vaccination remains an ongoing matter of political controversy. The lumbering efforts for a nationwide vaccination and the government’s botched handling of the entire pandemic were precursors to Wednesday’s wrenching numbers. Turkey, needless to say, is not alone in this tragedy.

How the countries are schooled by the overwhelming impact of the global pandemic boils down to a similar conclusion around the world: combatting the coronavirus is a serious business and any government or country, which foolishly overlooks the warnings of the scientists and health experts, is unsparingly punished by it. This trial and error cycle has repeatedly recurred everywhere but few countries obtained the right lessons from their wrongs. For many, the learning curve proved longer than flattening the curve in Covid cases.

This is still so even a year after the entire world set on a war path against the coronavirus pandemic by the deployment of strictest measures to curb its fatal contagion. That war strategy was later tempered by the pressing needs of national economies. Consequently, many governments dithered in their zealous approach, giving way to the rebellious voices rooting for lifting the shutdowns imposed in urban areas. The world now faces the third wave of Covid infections spurred by the variants that know no bounds between national borders.

The enthusiastic mood after the rollout of vaccinations in the advanced world is moderated by the realization that the virus will not fade away easily and any return to normalcy — the business as usual — is still a long…



Abdullah Ayasun

New York-based journalist and writer. Columbia School of Journalism. 2023 White House Correspondents' Association Scholar. Twitter: @abyasun