The Turkish government has been slammed by the main opposition party, the Kemalist Republican People’s Party (CHP), for hiding the true death toll attributed to COVID-19 to attract tourists from abroad.
The Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) postponed the release of the widely anticipated “Death and Cause of Death Statistics 2020″ bulletin until further notice, Duvar reported.
The opposition believe that this was a directive from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to hide real COVID-19 numbers to attract tourists.
TÜİK has been criticized domestically and internationally for being manipulated by the government and providing unemployment, growth, and inflation statistics favorable to President Erdoğan but not in correspondence to the real available data.
“This attitude by TÜİK confirmed predictions that the death numbers were manipulated and that COVID-19 cases were hidden,” CHP deputy Erdoğan Toprak told Duvar English.
“This government is unable to keep track of its citizens who have died, conceals the cause of death, and lies to its citizens and the rest of the world,” Toprak continued, adding: “The excuse that statistics derived from administrative records cannot be completed is a confession of administrative failure and government incompetence.”
“Either there is a serious lack of coordination or the data provided to TÜİK is so contradictory, inadequate, or non-existent that they were unable to produce logical data,” he said.
“Furthermore, it is possible that President Erdoğan ordered TÜİK not to release this data in order to protect the tourism industry, which is he expects to generate a large amount of revenue in the midst of the financial crisis,” the deputy argued.
“The government, which has made a habit of manipulating the number of COVID-19 cases, ignores public health by allowing many economic and social activities to begin too soon, and is now on a tourist hunt by concealing the number of deaths and their causes,” Toprak concluded.
In speaking to Duvar English, Dr. Ali İhsan Ökten, the deputy chair of the Turkis Medical Association (TBB), said “we are convinced that the number of COVID-related deaths is significantly higher.”
“We proved that patient numbers were manipulated. This case is no exception. According to our research, the real number of deaths is 3 to 3.5 times higher than official figures, above 150,000”, he said.
“In terms of deaths per population, we are among the leading countries,” he added.
Dr. Ökten shared the criticism of the opposition, public, and experts directed at TÜİK for not releasing the death statistics attributed to COVID-19 for 2020.
“TÜİK had to do it this month, but they could not because of unreliable, false, and inconsistent data provided to them. They do the math and it does not add up,” he added.