Turkish businessmen say another COVID-19 peak will spark bankruptcies

Turkish business associations are warning of a flood of bankruptcies should the country experience another peak in COVID-19 infections, Sözcü newspaper reported on Thursday.

Infections from COVID-19 rose to more than 22,000 daily on Wednesday, five times the level seen in early July, according to Health Ministry data. Business groups called on Turkish citizens to ensure they are vaccinated to prevent a further uptick in cases, Sözcü said.

“More restrictions will mean bankruptcies, one after another,” said Şahin Bilgiç, head of the Adana Chamber of Commerce (ATB). “Businessmen active in agriculture, industry and trade have no strength left to endure them.”

Cases of COVID-19 in Turkey are rising sharply after the government lifted remaining curfews and travel restrictions on the population at the start of July. Daily infections had reached a record high of more than 63,000 in mid-April, prompting the authorities to tighten curbs on movement.   

People who have not been vaccinated and complacency among those who have is causing the virus to spread, said Nurettin Özdebir, head of the Ankara Chamber of Industry (ASO). Meanwhile, the government should implement an economic programme for the short, medium and long term, he said.

“The rapid increase in cases should be brought under control,” Bilgiç said. “If steps are not taken, the entire business life and the economy of our country will be adversely affected.”