Erdoğan criticizes European Union for treating Turkey in restrictive way
Giving a speech to the provincial heads of the ruling AK Party, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday that the European Union had treated Turkey in a restrictive way over the coronavirus pandemic in what he said was a political stance.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan criticized the European Union for treating Turkey in a restrictive way over the coronavirus pandemic, in what he said was a political decision.
He did not provide further details but his comments came after the EU excluded Turkey, along with the United States and other countries, from its initial "safe list" of countries from which the bloc will allow nonessential travel from Wednesday.
Erdoğan was speaking via videoconference, addressing members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
On Tuesday, Brussels unveiled a list of 15 countries, including Australia and Morocco, whose health situation was deemed safe enough to allow their citizens to travel to the EU from July 1.
Ankara on Wednesday urged the EU to correct the "mistake" of excluding it from the bloc's list of safe coronavirus travel partners, saying it was disappointed by the move.
"The lack of Turkey's presence on the list is disappointing," Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.
He insisted Turkey had handled the coronavirus pandemic well, pointing to the "precautions, work undertaken and success" of the Turkish authorities.
"Turkey's efforts, measures and achievements made to stem the outbreak of coronavirus are evident. This decision should've been taken with objective criteria and while considering the country's success, which was cited as an example by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the international community," he said.
Underscoring Turkey's "exemplary solidarity with the international community during the pandemic," the foreign ministry spokesman said the country will continue its cooperation and transparent information sharing regarding the outbreak with European institutions.
"We expect this mistake regarding travel restrictions for our citizens to be corrected as soon as possible," the spokesperson said.
The EU will revise the list every two weeks based on epidemiological criteria, including the countries' overall response to the coronavirus and declining infection rates.
In Turkey, decreasing daily death toll, increasing recoveries and fewer new cases paved the way toward normalization on June 1.
The country has recorded 5,131 deaths since the first reported case of COVID-19 while nearly 200,000 people have been infected, according to health ministry figures Tuesday.
After originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, the virus has spread to at least 188 countries and regions, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The pandemic has infected nearly 10.5 million people worldwide, including 511,000 deaths and 5.36 million recoveries.
The U.S., Brazil, Russia and India currently have the highest number of cases.
In the wake of the pandemic, the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry launched the Safe Tourism Certification in partnership with the Foreign Ministry. The program covers a broad range of safety measures in transport, accommodation and hygiene, both for hospitality employees and tourists, according to the Tourism Ministry.
The certificate, which has been granted by international certification institutions, validates the execution of high-level health and hygiene requirements at airline companies, airports and other transport hubs, as well as in accommodation outlets and food and beverage facilities.