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Turkey: Legal Response to Covid-19

Turkey [tr]

Serkan Koybasi, Volkan Aslan, Naciye Betül Haliloğlu

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 30 June 2022

General editors: Prof. Jeff King; Prof. Octavio Ferraz
Area editors: Prof. Tendayi Achiume; Prof. Alan Bogg; Dr. Natalie Byrom; Prof. Cathryn Costello; Prof. Nicola Countouris; Prof. Colleen Flood; Prof. Eva Pils; Prof. Nico Steytler; Dr. Silvia Suteu; Dr. Bryan Thomas; Dr. Michael Veale; Dr. Pedro A. Villarreal


© The several contributors 2021. Some rights reserved. This is an open access publication, available online and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0), a copy of which is available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/. Enquiries concerning use outside the scope of the licence terms should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press.

Preferred Citation: S Köybaşı, V Aslan, N Betül Haliloğlu, ‘Turkey: Legal Response to Covid-19’, in Jeff King and Octávio LM Ferraz et al (eds), The Oxford Compendium of National Legal Responses to Covid-19 (OUP 2021). doi: 10.1093/law-occ19/e33.013.33

Except where the text indicates the contrary, the law is as it stood on: 8 July 2021

The first known case of Covid-19 in Turkey was reported on 11 March 2020. According to the data shared by the Ministry of Health, the first death from Covid-19 occured on 17 March 2020.1 The death toll increased significantly on 19 April 2020, with a total of 127 people losing their lives due to Covid-19. The number of deaths started to decrease until the end of May 2020, and from there until the end of the August 2020, the death toll was stable. From the beginning of September 2020, the number of deaths related to Covid-19 started to increase, which generated the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in Turkey. According to the data shared by the World Health Organization,2 the death toll of the first wave of the pandemic reached its peak on 24 December 2020. Hospital occupancy was recorded at 50.8% on this date.3 Once the death toll reached its peak, a swift fall followed, resulting in a decrease in the number of deaths until the midst of March 2021. From that point on, the death toll began to rise, and the second wave of the pandemic began. The number of deaths peaked during this wave on 1 May 2021—373 people were announced to have lost their lives due to Covid-19. Hospital occupancy reached 57% and adult intensive care units were 71.6% full. Subsequently, the death toll once again started to fall steadily until the mid-June 2021. With the start of August 2021, the death toll began rising again, generating the third wave of the pandemic. As of the last infographic regarding the week between 2–8 October 2021, shared by the Ministry of Health, hospital occupancy is 53.7%, whereas adult intensive care unit occupancy is at 67.7%.

I.  Constitutional Framework

1.  Turkey is a unitary, presidential, constitutional republic with a codified Constitution first adopted in 1982 and amended comprehensively in 2017.4 This amendment turned the country from a parliamentary system into a presidential one without mechanisms of checks and balances.5 Legislative power is vested in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT), a unicameral parliament.6 The Assembly comprises 600 members,7 elected for five years,8 through a proportional electoral system with a threshold of 10%, the highest in the world for single parties.9 The Assembly has general legislative authority qualified by some restrictions by the Constitution. In practice, since the elections for the Presidency and the Assembly are on the same day,10 there is an increased likelihood of a single party holding both the Presidency and the majority of seats in the GNAT.11 As party discipline is high in the GNAT, the President holds a strong position in determining the successful passage of legislative acts. The President also has the authority to issue presidential decrees, which have the power and effect of law on administrative matters not regulated by law.

2.  In response, the GNAT has, theoretically, power to make void presidential decrees by ratifying legislation on the same subject. In addition, the Assembly is expected to approve the presidential decrees issued during a state of emergency within three months; if this does not happen, the emergency decree loses effect automatically.

3.  The President is the Head of State. The President represents the Republic of Turkey and the unity of the Turkish nation.12 They exercise and carry out executive power and functions respectively.13 The President is elected directly by the public for five years through a two-tier majoritarian election. A person may be elected as the President of the Republic for two terms at most.14 They appoint and dismiss the Vice-President.15 Deputies and ministers are politically responsible only before the President. The President may appoint and dismiss high-ranking executives without any approval from Parliament and may regulate the procedure and principles governing the appointment thereof by presidential decree.16 The President may issue by-laws and decisions in order to ensure the implementation of laws. The President and ministers can be investigated based on criminal allegations upon the decision of three-fifths of the total number of the GNAT by secret vote. In such a case, an investigation committee is formed by 15 members of the Assembly. The committee prepares a report on the charges within two months, which has to be approved by at least two-thirds of the members of the GNAT to allow the Supreme Criminal Tribunal to try the President.

4.  The Republic of Turkey is a unitary State. According to the Constitution, the State, with its territory and nation, is an indivisible entity,17 which the Constitutional Court generally interprets as a unitary State. Its capital is Ankara, and this cannot be changed.18 The Government is a whole with its formation and functions. Its organization and functions are based on the principles of centralization and decentralization.19 The State is divided into 81 provinces. These provinces do not have any autonomy and exercise no sovereign powers. The public elects mayors, who have rights, duties, and responsibilities relating to the management of their municipalities. Nonetheless, they remain under the administrative tutelage of the governor of the province appointed by the central Government. Legislative, executive, and legal powers are single and central.

5.  Health protection powers are vested in the central Government. Rules affecting general public health must be prepared and approved by the GNAT as law. The President can issue presidential decrees only in areas not regulated by law. Executing health-related laws and presidential decrees is a competence that belongs to the President’s cabinet, which can use this power through presidential by-laws, decisions, and circulars.

6.  The responsibility for responding to emergencies such as the Covid-19 pandemic belongs to the President as the embodiment of the executive organ. There is an advisory board, titled the Covid-19 Scientific Advisory Board (CSAB) (Türkiye Koronavirüs Bilim Kurulu) formed under the Ministry of Health (see Part III.E below). The President is not bound by the Board’s advice, which means that they can overrule them and take measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic as presidential acts.

7.  According to Article 13 of the Constitution, fundamental rights and freedoms may be restricted only by law. However, the only law relating to public health in emergencies like a pandemic is an outdated law from 1930, which is called ‘Umumi Hıfzıssıhha Kanunu’ (Law No 1593 on General Protection of Public Health),20 which cites a numerus clausus of types of pandemics during which some restrictions can be enforced. Although Covid-19 is not one of them, rights and freedoms have nonetheless been restricted through some executive orders lacking legal grounding during the recent pandemic to limit the spread of the virus.21 The only other way to restrict fundamental rights and freedoms was to declare a state of emergency, which did not occur. Therefore, it can be said that the response has confused the constitutional arrangement.

II.  Applicable Legal Framework

A.  Constitutional and international law

8.  There has not been any constitutional state of emergency declared during the Covid-19 pandemic, even though according to the Constitution an outbreak of a dangerous epidemic is one reason for which a national emergency can be declared.22 The declaration of a regional or nationwide state of emergency of a maximum of six months is at the discretion of the President, though it must be submitted to Parliament to be approved by a simple majority.

9.  The President’s power is especially enlarged during a state of emergency. In such a scenario, they are able to govern through presidential decrees alone, which have the force of law during a state of emergency and can be reviewed by Parliament only retrospectively (see Part III below). Even fundamental rights and freedoms can be restricted through presidential decrees pursuant to Article 15 of the Constitution in a state of emergency. These decrees remain in force only if Parliament confirms them within three months. In this scenario, the President would hold legislative power, which would create a legal basis for the restrictions imposed during the recent pandemic.

10.  The republican form of the State,23 its democratic, secular, and social qualities, as well as the rule of law,24 cannot at any time be amended.25 Article 15 of the Constitution of Turkey provides that although rights and freedoms may be partially or entirely suspended in times of war, mobilization, or under the state of emergency, some core rights are inviolable, such as the right to life and the integrity of corporal and spiritual existence. Moreover, no one shall be compelled to reveal their religion, conscience, thought, or opinion, nor be accused on account of them.

11.  Turkey is a Member State of the Council of Europe (CoE) and a party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment and Punishment. There has been no decision to derogate from the ECHR or any other international convention protecting human rights to which Turkey is a party.

12.  The CSAB was established by the approval of the Minister of Health on 22 January 2020,26 before the official declaration of the pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). It started to take precautions as early as the first day to prevent the introduction of the virus to the country by ceasing direct flights from Wuhan, China, applying health checks to Chinese citizens entering Turkey, and arranging for thermal cameras and quarantine rooms in the airports. In February 2020, borders with Iran were closed. Subsequently, flights to and from Italy, South Korea, and Iraq were halted (see Part IV.A.2 below). Two days after the declaration of the worldwide pandemic by the WHO, on 13 March 2020, an emergency meeting in the Presidential Complex was organized. On the same day, the Ministry of Health published a document detailing the measures to be taken against Covid-19 and mentioning the WHO for the first time.27 In the document, the Ministry announced a list of precautions while referring to the advice of the WHO. After that moment, the President, the Minister of Health, and other State officers regularly referred to the WHO’s announcements and guidelines to justify measures that included the closure of schools and the obligation to wear a face mask in public (see Part IV below).28

B.  Statutory provisions

13.  According to the Law on Provincial Administration,29 duties of provincial governors include exercising preventive police patrol, providing and preserving peace, security, personal inviolability, freedom of action, and public welfare within the cities. To ensure these duties, the governor may take necessary measures. In cases where there are serious signs of deterioration or the risk of deterioration of public order or safety in such a way that ordinary life is threatened, the governor may restrict entry to and exit from the city for persons who are suspected of having the potential to disrupt public order or public security, regulate or restrict the roaming or gathering of people and the navigation of vehicles in certain places or during certain hours, or prohibit the bearing or transportation of all types of weapons and ammunition including the registered ones. These measures cannot exceed 15 days.30 It is also stated that Article 66 of the law applies to those who do not comply with the decisions and measures taken and announced within the scope of Article 11/C. Article 66 states that

People who oppose or do not comply with the decisions and measures issued by general city councils, administrative councils or governors shall be punished in accordance with article 32 of the Law on Misdemeanors. However, in cases where public order and public security or safety of people and property are endangered, those who act contrary to the decisions and measures taken by the governor in order to ensure public order shall be punished with imprisonment from three months to a year.

14.  Article 32 of the Law on Misdemeanors prescribes administrative fines for people who act improperly with the orders given by competent authorities.31

15.  According to Article 27 of the Law on General Protection of Public Health,32 public health commissions monitor the sanitary situation of the places under their respective jurisdictions, taking measures to improve sanitary circumstances and eliminate existing defects in cities, towns, and villages. It is also their duty to assist people in their struggle against pandemics. Article 72 of the Law lists measures to be applied in cases of the epidemics and pandemics mentioned in Article 57 of the Law, covering cholera, plague, and diphtheria. Although Article 57 does not explicitly address Covid-19, Article 64 allows the Law to be applied to other epidemics and pandemics. These measures are mostly applicable to infected people, infected animals, or danger zones. They do not mention the preventive measures or restriction of rights in relation to ‘non-infected people’ explicitly.

16.  Due to the fact that this law was enacted in 1930 and has not been changed much since then, the types of diseases referred to in it are outdated.33 In the aforementioned Article 57 of the Law on General Protection of Public Health, the diseases against which measures may be taken are listed as a numerus clausus, and Covid-19 is not one of them. Although this is the case, the Ministry of the Interior imposed sanctions under Article 282 of this Law, which refers to other diseases, for violating the restrictions imposed by circulars regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. That situation created a legal ambiguity from which rose concerns regarding the discretionary limitation of the rights and freedoms, and even some allegations on intervention to certain lifestyles emerged.34 To give an example of how the law is outdated, according to it, during a pandemic such as cholera, yellow fever, or rabies, passengers entering the country through land or riverways—airways are not mentioned, since at that time flying was not a commercial transportation means—can be held, and their health can be checked.35 However, only people who show symptoms can be quarantined.36 Sanctions can only be imposed accordingly on people who break these rules.

17.  Despite this, the GNAT has approved no new general law to provide a legal basis for the restrictions and measures imposed to address the pandemic. Parliament has approved only two legal norms regarding the pandemic. One is a law to lessen the economic impact of the outbreak by providing some temporary support, including a ban on the termination of labour contracts and an allowance for unpaid leave without consent (see Part V below).37 The other is merely a provision to halt most of the procedural time limits until a certain time.38

C.  Executive rule-making powers

18.  Faced with the lack of a constitutional and legal framework to contain the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak, the executive organ—essentially the President—filled this gap through presidential decrees, decisions, and circulars, as well as circulars of the Ministry of the Interior. Governors have a duty to implement and enforce the measures taken by administrative decisions. The inaction of Parliament and the active role of the executive organ in tackling the pandemic can be considered a reflection of the new political regime adopted in 2017, which puts the President above all the other powers. 39

19.  Under the new presidential system of government, the President can issue decrees on matters regarding executive power. Nonetheless, Presidential decrees may not regulate fundamental rights or individual rights and duties. No presidential decree may be issued on matters to be regulated or which are explicitly regulated by law. In the case of any discrepancy, provisions of law prevail over decrees.40 Therefore, one can say that where a matter has not been regulated by parliamentary legislation, the President is able to regulate a matter by a general and abstract normative decree, which has the power of law until Parliament decides to manage this matter by law. This power of decree has not been used in relation to Covid-19 measures.

20.  The President also has the power to issue decisions in relation to individuals, like their appointments. During the pandemic, this power was also used to issue some general measures to mitigate the economic and social impact of the outbreak, such as new general regulations on value-added tax41 or the prolongation of the short-term employment allowance.

21.  Under the new presidential system of government approved in 2017 through a referendum organized during a state of emergency declared after the attempted coup d’état on 15 July 2016, the President has the power to issue three different types of acts. The highest in the hierarchy of norms is the presidential decree regulated by Article 104(17) of the Constitution. As mentioned above, presidential decrees have a legal effect if a law has not regulated that matter, but they lose their regulative power once a law is passed—so, they are just under the law in the hierarchy. Secondly, the President may issue by-laws. Regulated by Article 124 of the Constitution, the President, ministries, and public corporate bodies may issue by-laws in order to ensure the implementation of laws and presidential decrees relating to their jurisdiction, as long as they are not contrary to them. Finally, at the bottom of the hierarchy, the President may also issue circulars, directives, notifications, and decisions of principle as regulative acts to implement higher regulations. 42

22.  Presidential decrees, like laws, regulate matters as long as they are in effect, unless they provide a deadline or until the President or Parliament regulates the matter by a new decree or law. The duration of by-laws and other lower regulative acts of the President depends on the life of the laws and decrees they are implementing unless, again, there is a deadline contained within them. Circulars issued by ministries or governorships are usually intended to tackle a specific matter or event. Therefore, they expire automatically with the end of that specific matter or event.

23.  Presidential decrees can be challenged before the Constitutional Court. At least one-fifth of the members of the GNAT or the two biggest parties in the Parliament may apply to the court for an annulment action within 60 days after their publication in the Official Gazette.43 In addition, if one of the parties to a case in front of a court claims the unconstitutionality of a presidential decree to be used in that case, the judge can submit the claim to the Constitutional Court as well.44 Other presidential, ministerial, and governmental regulations can be challenged before administrative courts. For example, there have been some applications to these courts for the annulation of fines given due to the violation of circulars issued by the Ministry of the Interior, some of which were successful (see Part IV below).

24.  Executive authorities have used their powers to and even sometimes beyond the limit during the Covid-19 pandemic. In the absence of action from the GNAT, in which the President’s party holds the highest number of seats, the Government has played a dominant role in tackling the crisis. Starting from early March 2020, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Family and Social Services, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and the Ministry of Commerce issued hundreds of circulars to implement precautions and impose bans such as those on gatherings, as well as obligations such as wearing a face mask in public (see Part IV below).

D.  Guidance

25.  On 1 October 2020, the Ministry of Health published a guide on managing the Covid-19 pandemic and the precautions to be taken in the labour market prepared by the CSAB.45 Executive regulations such as ministerial circulars and decisions, and the decisions made by this Board, have been issued according to this guide, right after approval by the President. In the absence of a legal basis, these circulars and decisions affecting rights and freedoms gave rise to concerns of rule of law violations.46 The absence of an institutionalized structure to fight the pandemic and, correspondingly, the confusion of powers among governmental units have been criticized as well (for details of this confusion see Part IV.A below).47

26.  Article 13 of the Constitution stipulates that rights and freedoms shall be restricted only by law. However, the only law that contains some provisions on the matter of pandemics, as mentioned above, does not provide a legal basis for the restrictions imposed thus far to limit the spread of Covid-19. Therefore, since precautions such as quarantine measures, the obligatory wearing of face masks, and physical distancing rules were impossible to mandate under that law (see Part IV.B.1 below), they have instead been taken through executive acts following the guidance of the CSAB working under the Ministry of Health.

III.  Institutions and Oversight

A.  The role of the legislatures in supervising the executive

27.  Presidential decrees issued in a state of emergency can be reviewed by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (GNAT) retrospectively. These decrees can remain in force only if Parliament affirms them within three months.48 However, there is no ongoing parliamentary oversight over ordinary presidential decrees, by-laws, and circulars, all of which are the main legal instruments in the Covid-19 response. The GNAT therefore cannot terminate these powers and the powers do not come up for renewal before it. These legal instruments may however be subject to legal oversight as explained in Part II.C above. One-fifth of the members of the GNAT and the two largest parties in Parliament are entitled to apply to the Constitutional Court for the annulment of presidential decrees.49

28.  The President, deputies, and ministers are not politically responsible to the GNAT. However, it is enshrined in the Constitution that the GNAT exercises the power to obtain information and supervision by means of parliamentary inquiry, general debate, parliamentary investigation, and written question.50 Apart from parliamentary investigation which may give rise to the criminal liability of the executive, these methods do not invoke any responsibility on the part of members of the executive. According to Article 98 of the Constitution, a parliamentary inquiry is an examination conducted to obtain information on a specific subject and a general debate is the consideration of a specific subject relating to the community and the activities of the State at the plenary of the GNAT. From the beginning of the pandemic, parliamentarians have issued motions to initiate general debates and parliamentary inquiries relating to Covid-19 measures.51

29.  According to Article 98 of the Constitution, a written question is a question asked by parliamentarians to the deputies of the President or ministers in a written form, which is to be answered within 15 days. Parliamentarians have thus far directed numerous written questions at ministers. Submission of answers to written questions after the 15-day legal period is a regular occurrence.52 Submission of belated answers to written questions have also been seen during the pandemic concerning questions related to Covid-19 measures.53 According to the Speakership of the GNAT, from a total of 14,245 written questions submitted in 2020, only 2,552 written questions have been answered within the 15-day period, 4,867 written questions have received belated answers and 6,606 questions have not been answered. 54 Thus, most questions received either belated answers or none at all. A similar situation occurred concerning written questions submitted in the first and second legislative years of the 27th legislative period, ie in 2018 and 2019.55

30.  Parliament can amend the laws on which regulatory instruments such as by-laws and circulars are based. Furthermore, according to Article 104(17) of the Constitution, presidential decrees will be deemed null and void when a law regulating the same subject matter is enacted.

B.  The functioning of the legislature where its ordinary business is disrupted

31.  The GNAT has been able to meet throughout the pandemic. Several circulars of the Ministry of the Interior have named parliamentarians and employees of the GNAT in the list of those exempted from curfews.56 Although some parliamentarians have expressed the view that virtual meetings are necessary,57 there has been no report, announcement, or decision showing that the GNAT has resorted to virtual meetings.

32.  After the pandemic hit Turkey, the GNAT published on its website several of its decisions to suspend the operations of Parliament. The GNAT decided to take a ten-day recess as of 5 May 2020.58 Thereafter, a decision of prorogation from 29 July 2020 until 1 October 2020 was made.59 It was then decided for Parliament to take a ten-day recess as of 12 January 2021.60 The GNAT mentioned neither the Covid-19 crisis nor any other reason for the suspension of the operations of Parliament in these decisions. It should also be noted that these decisions would not have been out of the ordinary even prior to the Covid-19 crisis. For example, in 2019, the GNAT decided on a ten-day recess and a prorogation that lasted for more than two months.61

33.  Moreover, parliamentary committees are continuing to meet. As a matter of fact, the GNAT has issued decisions enabling parliamentary committees to work during periods of recess and prorogation.62

C.  Role of and access to courts

34.  The activities of courts in Turkey have been significantly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Various measures have been taken in accordance with the progress of the pandemic. On 13 March 2020, two days after the announcement of the first Covid-19 case in Turkey, the Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) recommended that hearings be postponed except for those concerning arrests and other urgent proceedings.63. It also recommended in the same document for the courts to make use of the Audio-Visual Information Technology System (SEGBİS) if necessary. SEGBİS allows, among other things, for defendants to attend court hearings through a link rather than in person. This system finds its statutory basis in Criminal Procedure Law No 5271,64 and the by-law which was promulgated in 2011.65 However, in a judgment concerning an individual application in 2018, the Constitutional Court concluded that the automatic use of SEGBİS without a search for alternatives and an endeavour to make possible a personal appearance before the court violated the right to a fair trial.66 No judgment of the Constitutional Court directly dealing with an application on the constitutionality of hearings held through SEGBİS during the Covid-19 pandemic has yet been published.

35.  In line with the recommendation of the HSK, hearings in all court houses except those concerning the matters identified by the HSK were postponed.67 It was however expressed by the Ministry of Justice that there remained the possibility of filing a suit through the online services provided by the National Judiciary Informatics System (UYAP).68 In the ensuing days, the HSK announced that the courts would operate according to a flexible working arrangement similar to that of holiday periods.69

36.  On 26 March 2020, Law No 7226 was published in the Official Gazette.70 According to the first provisional clause of this law, procedural time limits including those for bringing a claim before a court were on hold until 30 April 2020 and restarted thereafter, in order to prevent legal proceedings from being compromised during the Covid-19 pandemic. This clause did not prevent the bringing of a claim before a court or the initiation of an appeal procedure.71 The limitation periods for criminal punishment, among other matters, were deemed exceptions. In accordance with the power granted by the same clause, the President decided to extend this date to 15 June 2020 with a presidential decision published on 30 April 2020.72 Additionally, the Constitutional Court announced that the time limit for individual applications was also within the scope of this provision and was therefore extended first until 30 April 2020 and thereafter 15 June 2020.73

37.  The first provisional clause of Law No 7226 authorized the HSK to take necessary measures with respect to civil and criminal proceedings in first instance and divisional courts, including the postponement of hearings within the extended time limits. The Court of Cassation and the Council of State were empowered to take measures concerning appeal procedures and the Ministry of Justice was authorized to take other necessary measures with respect to judicial services. In accordance with the power granted to it by way of this law, the General Assembly of the HSK decided on 30 March 2020 that all hearings in first instance and divisional courts would be postponed to 30 April 2020.74 However, urgent proceedings and the review of detention were excluded from this decision. The HSK stated that arrestees and attorneys had to be heard by way of SEGBİS. It was emphasized that the procedures which had not been postponed by this decision were to be executed through remote and flexible working methods and by way of the services provided by UYAP. The HSK decided to prolong this decision until 15 June 2020.75 Additionally, the Court of Cassation decided to postpone appeal hearings in its jurisdiction first to 30 April 202076 and thereafter to 15 June 2020.77

38.  Starting from 16 June 2020, the time limits for bringing a claim before a court started running once more and courts started to hold hearings.78 The Ministry of Justice issued guidelines concerning the operation of courts and judicial services, to be applied during the normalization period.79 This document recommended, among others, an obligation to wear masks in courthouses and physical distancing measures to be imposed. The Ministry of Justice also stated its intention to extend and increase the use of SEGBİS during the pandemic period.80 Judicial operations in this period were carried out in accordance with the guidelines. The Ministry of Justice suggested for procedural requests on files to be sent through the online portal of UYAP in order to prevent possible crowds as a result of backlog of procedures, especially in public debt collection offices.81

39.  Flexible working arrangements were recommended for the public sector in a presidential circular promulgated on 14 April 2021.82 Therewith, the HSK advised courts to operate in a flexible manner, making use of the UYAP services to the fullest extent, while at the same time stating that planned hearings should take place.83 However, the HSK subsequently published a decision urging the courts to consider once again postponing the hearings in first instance and divisional courts with the exception of urgent matters and proceedings concerning arrestees, during the period of total lockdown between 29 April and 17 May 2020.84 The HSK emphasized that courts should consider holding the hearings concerning arrestees by way of SEGBİS and executing other proceedings through remote and flexible working methods as well as by way of the services provided by UYAP. The Ministry of Justice announced that this was a recommendation to courts rather than a binding decision.85

40.  The use of online court proceedings with respect to criminal cases has been available nationwide during the pandemic. This was obligatory with regards to detention reviews when hearings were not held and recommended in several phases of the pandemic.

41.  The possibility of holding hearings through audio and visual systems with respect to civil proceedings was introduced by Article 149 of Civil Procedure Law No 6100 before the pandemic.86 However, a system enabling the use of online platforms in civil cases was initiated only after the pandemic and is not actively used nationwide. This began with a law amending Article 149 of the Civil Procedure Law No 6100, which was published on 28 July 2020.87 With this amendment the judge can, through the request of one party or ex officio, decide to carry out an online hearing without having to obtain the consent of both parties. This amendment was criticized by some legal scholars as possibly enabling violations of the right to a fair trial in concrete cases.88 Others expressed concerns regarding problems it might cause in practice given its hasty introduction.89 Moreover, the amendment has been deemed by some as contrary to Article 142 of the Constitution, which mandates the regulation by law of court proceedings, given that the amendment does not itself set out the rules and procedures of online hearings but rather leaves this to other regulatory instruments.90 However, the Ministry of Justice has, to the contrary, regarded the amendment as a fortification of the legal basis for online hearings in civil cases.91 Accordingly, a system enabling attorneys to participate in hearings for civil cases online upon their filing of an online request was established.92 This system was put into practice on 15 September 2020 in several civil courts in Ankara.93 As of a May 2021 announcement, the online hearing system is accessible to attorneys in relation to civil proceedings in 679 courts.94

42.  Whether judicial review concerning declarations of states of emergency is possible is disputed among Turkish scholars. There are those who claim that the decision of the President to declare a state of emergency is subject to the review of the Council of State due to Article 125 of the Constitution.95 However, it is widely accepted that neither the decision of the President, nor the decision of Parliament approving this decision, is subject to review by courts.96 The Constitutional Court ruled in 1970 that it could not review a decision of Parliament concerning this very matter.97 The Council of State has also ruled in the same year that reviewing the decision of the executive organ regarding the declaration of emergency is not within its competence.98

43.  No information has been reached concerning whether there was a digital divide between users having online skills and those without. For further information on the role of courts with regard to enforcement see Part IV.B.1 below.

D.  Elections

44.  The Covid-19 pandemic has not led to the postponement of elections on the national level in Turkey. However, it has affected the electoral calendar for elections that take place in the event of vacancies within the electoral period at the local level. According to Law No 2972 on the Elections of Local Administrations, Neighbourhood Mukhtars, and the Board of Aldermen, elections to fill vacancies for mukhtars and a certain number of the members of the board of aldermen are to take place every year in June.99 Although the Supreme Election Committee of Turkey (YSK) had announced, on 17 March 2020, that these elections would take place in June 2020 in accordance with Law No 2972,100 Law No 7244, which was promulgated on 17 April 2020, ordered that no such elections would take place in 2020.101 Subsequently, the YSK announced a decision in the same vein.102 In March 2021, the YSK decided for the postponed elections to take place on 6 June 2021103 and published a list of these elections on its website.104

45.  Apart from this, elections for bar associations were postponed as part of the Covid-19 measures. General assemblies of the bar associations that elect the governing bodies of the bar were originally slated to take place in October 2020 in accordance with the Attorneyship Law No 1136.105 However, on 2 October 2020, the Ministry of Interior issued a circular urging public health commissions of each province to take decisions to postpone meetings organised by multiple institutions, including bar associations, between 2 October and 1 December 2020.106 Public health commissions followed accordingly.107 The YSK decided that elections of bar associations could not take place if public health commissions had decided to postpone their meetings. However, assemblies of political parties could still take place.108

46.  The decisions of the Ministry as well as the YSK were criticized by the majority of the bar associations for, among other things, being contrary to Law No 1136 in which the electoral calendar is expressly determined and arbitrarily interfering with the right to vote and stand for election.109 Postponing the elections of bar associations while permitting some other organisations such as political parties to hold their general assemblies was seen to have underlying political motives rather than being aimed at protecting public health.110 These decisions were asserted to be linked to the elections for the leadership of the Union of the Turkish Bar Associations and the recent amendment to Law No 1136.111 This amendment changed the single-bar system where affiliation to a bar association was based on geographical criteria and made it possible to voluntarily form multiple bar associations in large provinces.112 This amendment also reduced the voting power of large bar associations and granted voting powers to the second bars that may be formed in large provinces for the leadership of the Union of the Turkish Bar Associations. Critics voiced concern that this law will reduce the power of large bar associations which raised criticism and dissent toward the executive.113 The Istanbul Bar Association asserted that the postponement of elections for bar associations would give time to the second bars to complete their formation and send delegates to the Union of the Turkish Bar Associations.114

47.  On 27 November 2020, the Ministry of the Interior issued another circular extending the postponement to 1 March 2021.115 On 2 March 2021, a circular determined that meetings of multiple institutions, including bar associations, could take place in certain provinces, albeit capped at 300 participants.116 Consequently, the general assemblies of bar associations with more members could not take place.117 It has been announced by major bar associations that the elections are planned to be held in June 2021.118 However, a circular issued by the Ministry of the Interior on 1 June 2021 further postponed events of organisations with broad participation, including general assemblies of bar associations, until 15 June 2021. General assemblies of sports clubs were exempted from the measure.119 As a result of this circular, public health commissions took decisions accordingly.120 Thus, the planned elections of bar associations could not take place before 15 June 2021. Another circular issued on 11 June 2021 was aimed specifically at general assemblies of bar associations. This circular announced that the general assemblies of bar associations with less than 400 members could take place as of 15 June 2021, while the general assemblies of bar associations with more than 400 members could take place as of 26 June 2021.121 Accordingly, the elections of bar associations started to take place nationwide.122 The elections of the Istanbul Bar Association are planned to take place in October 2021.123 The Istanbul Bar Association No 2 completed its first ordinary general assembly on 4 July 2021.124

E.  Scientific advice

48.  The Covid-19 Scientific Advisory Board (CSAB) was the main source of scientific advice for the Covid-19 response in Turkey. It consists of specialists and academics in various fields such as public health, epidemiology, infectious diseases, and clinical microbiology.125 The number of experts was increased in time and subgroups were added in accordance with the emerging needs uncovered by the pandemic.126 The Turkish Medical Association recommended in March 2020 for itself and other expert organizations as well as health trade unions to be included in the composition of the CSAB.127 However, it later stated that this recommendation was not taken up.128

49.  The CSAB has met regularly since its establishment to make evaluations concerning the Covid-19 situation in Turkey and to guide the Covid-19 response with its recommendations. There is no requirement for the recommendations to be published. Consequently, no such practice has been adopted. Usual practice has simply consisted of the Minister of Health holding a press conference or issuing a press release concerning the general topics discussed following these meetings.129 The Turkish Medical Association found the lack of transparency in this regard to be a significant failure130 and announced that it was crucial for the advice of the CSAB to be disclosed to the public, especially for the purpose of determining any possible mismanagement.131

50.  Moreover, there is no express mention of an obligation on the part of the executive to abide by the recommendations of the CSAB. Nonetheless, throughout the pandemic, decisions relating to Covid-19 measures made by various authorities, including, among others, the Ministry of Interior,132 the HSK,133 and the President,134 were described as being taken in consideration of the recommendations of the CSAB, albeit mostly as part of a general formulation. It was even expressly stated at times that a certain measure had been expressly recommended by the CSAB and that certain criteria within measures were determined by it.135 The Minister of the Interior also asserted that the executive has abided by all the recommendations of the CSAB.136 This was however deemed highly questionable, especially due to the lack of disclosure of CSAB recommendations137 and the criticisms raised as to their lack of transparency.138

51.  Further to its advisory role, the CSAB has assumed the role of informing the public about the pandemic. It published its first guideline in January 2020,139 which was subsequently followed by many others in the following months, on working conditions, health institutions, diagnosis, treatment, contact tracing, and isolation, among other things. Individual members of the CSAB have also been actively providing information to the public through media outlets.140 Although rare, some members have levelled criticism against the executive.141 Thus far no information on a negative response or backlash on the part of the executive concerning the public appearances of members and their statements has been available.

52.  On 7 January 2020, another advisory board was formed.142 The Board of Social Sciences is composed of experts in fields such as sociology, communication, psychology, religious sociology, and statistics.143 It is tasked with, among other things, evaluating the efficiency of Covid-19 measures in view of the social behavioural patterns of the public and the psychological effects of the pandemic. It was announced that the Board’s recommendations will only be published when necessary. Whether this board has had a significant effect on actual Covid-19 measures is unknown.

53.  Finally, it is worth mentioning that scientific advisory boards have not only been convened at the level of central Government, for example, the municipality of Istanbul has also formed a scientific advisory board. This board has published various reports and recommendations relating to the Covid-19 response in Istanbul and Turkey.144 The scientific advisory board’s advice in these reports has mainly addressed the measures taken by the central Government. It has at times found the measures taken by the central Government positive, while it has also put forward criticism toward and recommendations diverging from the central Government’s measures.145 The scientific advisory board has criticized the central Government for not sufficiently involving municipalities in the Covid-19 decision-making process. It has stated that more financial resources should be allocated to municipalities in this period.146 It has also highlighted and criticized the fact that very limited data, specifically on Istanbul, is accessible.147 The scientific advisory board has also presented concrete recommendations for the central Government. In a statement, it has openly criticized the current measures taken by the central Government and recommended a four-week total lockdown to be implemented nationwide.148

F.  Freedom of the press and freedom of information

54.  Laws on access to information have not been modified or suspended in 2020 and 2021 in Turkey. However, the transparency of the Covid-19 response has been questioned and there has been controversy surrounding the accuracy of the data conveyed by the Ministry of Health about the pandemic in Turkey.149

55.  Several measures devoted to supporting the press throughout the Covid-19 crisis have been taken. The Press Institution of Turkey decided to discharge the debts of reporters, if requested, and to ease to some extent several legal requirements for periodicals.150 Tax liabilities of those working in the publishing sector, among many others, were postponed for a limited period.151

56.  Furthermore, media organizations, namely newspapers, radio and television, journals, as well as printing houses for newspapers, and those working in these institutions, were exempted from Covid-19 curfews.152 The circulars for the curfews also specified how newspapers would be distributed throughout the restriction period.153 The Ministry of the Interior announced in May 2021 that the possession of a media card would be required for exemption from the total lockdown measures154 and the curfew measures for nights and weekends taken right after the total lockdown period.155

57.  It has been reported that journalists have been taken into custody by reason of their reporting on the Covid-19 pandemic.156 More than one instance of journalists being taken into custody and arrested following to their reporting on Covid-19 incidences and measures have been reported in international and national media outlets. There were reports that reporters in such a situation had been released shortly after.157 According to the International Press Institution, there have been 13 violations of press freedom in Turkey linked to Covid-19 in 2020.158

G.  Ombuds and oversight bodies

58.  No public official has been appointed to review legislation or to monitor the public response to Covid-19 in Turkey. According to Law No 6328159 and Article 74 of the Constitution which establishes it, the Ombudsman Institution of Turkey receives individual complaints and issues recommendations to the executive via reports. Individuals can file complaints to the Ombudsman after the exhaustion of administrative remedies.160 The Ombudsman Institution does not render binding decisions. Subsequently to its examination and investigation, the Ombudsman Institution can submit its recommendations to the complainant and the relevant administrative body.161 If the relevant authority does not find the action or the solution proposed by the Institution feasible, it shall notify the reasons for it to the Institution within 30 days.162

59.  In June 2020, the Ombudsman Institution of Turkey published a special report concerning the Covid-19 response of the executive. This report compiled, explained, and evaluated the Covid-19 measures taken until June 2020. The Institution found the Covid-19 response to be successful,163 though it did mention a limited number of problems.164 The recommendations presented at the end of the report did not address specific problems but rather expressed general suggestions on combating outbreaks.165

60.  Apart from this, the Ombudsman Institution has also received complaints during the Covid-19 crisis.166 The number of complaints received increased considerably in 2020, most of which had Covid-19 measures as a subject matter.167 In particular, the number of complaints on the Covid-19 bank credit aids was so high that a special review method had to be applied for these complaints.168 Complaints on bank credit aids have been dealt with directly by the Office of the Chief Ombudsman and the decisions have been given by the Chief Ombudsman.169

61.  The Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey, another institution tasked with overseeing the operation of the executive with a focus on human rights and equality,170 did not publish a general report or announcement devoted to scrutinizing the Covid-19 response. The Institution announced that it had continued its regular visits to facilities such as prisons, immigration removal centres, and facilities for those under State protection, and stated that it oversaw the Covid-19 measures implemented in such facilities.171 The Covid-19 measures in such facilities were not evaluated in detail in most of the reports it published regarding these visits.

IV.  Public Health Measures, Enforcement and Compliance

62.  The Turkish response to the pandemic can be categorized into six consecutive stages. During the first stage, which began with the announcement of the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Turkey on 11 March 2020, severe restrictions were taken with the aim of reducing general mobility. Most facilities, including schools and universities, were closed. General curfews were imposed in big cities during weekends, inter-city voyages and travels were limited, and persons over the age of 65, suffering from chronic diseases, or under the age of 20 were banned from leaving their homes.172 The second stage, ‘the new normal’, commenced on 1 June 2020 and saw most restrictions being eased.173 Concerned by the rising numbers of infected people by the end of October 2020, Turkey entered the third stage, namely the ‘second period of tightening’, on 4 November 2020, with similar precautions as those of the first stage being taken again.174 On 1 March 2021, the measures were progressively relaxed and Turkey transitioned into the fourth stage, which was called ‘the process of local decision-making’.175 In this stage, cities were categorized into four groups in accordance with their risk factors, allowing for measures to be applied on a local basis rather than nationwide. With cases reaching a record level in March 2021, a fifth stage began on 14 April 2021, during which the usual heightened measures were taken, including a total lockdown between 29 April and 17 May 2021.176 Turkey moved into a sixth stage, which envisages the gradual lifting of restrictions, on 1 June 2021.177

A.  Public health measures

63.  Almost all public health measures were adopted and declared by ministerial circulars addressing provincial governors. Most of these circulars were issued by the Ministry of the Interior.178 These circulars are lower regulative acts and must be based on primary legislation accepted by Parliament. The contents of the circulars in question show that they were generally grounded in Article 11(C) of the Law on Provincial Administration and Articles 27 and 72 of the Law on General Protection of Public Health, highlighted in Part II.B above.

64.  One of the most significant issues with ministerial circulars is their lack of clarity and predictability. Since they are not published in the Official Gazette, but rather are addressed to provincial governors appointed by the central Government and only accessible via websites of the respective ministry or broadcasts by television and radio channels, confusion arises frequently as to their contents and the obligations they create. In some instances, full texts and photographs of circulars were also shared on the websites of ministries. However, this practice is rare, and the ministries generally preferred to publish the contents of the circulars. This problem has manifested itself in many ways, most frequently with incomplete declarations of the scale of limitations and their exceptions. Subsequent press statements and additional explanations have been used widely as a means of fixing the problem. Consequently, most of the rules are made known on governmental websites under the heading of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ following ministerial circulars.179

65.  Since Turkey is a unitary State, provincial governors who are appointed by the central Government are subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. Under this hierarchy, they do not possess the competence to act contrary to the orders of the ministries. On the other hand, despite their autonomy and their possession of a legal personality, municipalities did not play important roles in formulating the measures and could merely act to the extent permitted by the central Government. These units cannot take extra restrictive measures that were not adopted or mandated by the central Government as well.

1.  Individual mobility restrictions on citizens (stay-at-home, curfews, etc)

66.  On 5 March 2020, the Ministry of Health recommended that the elderly remain in their homes as far as possible.180 However, there was no legal mandate or sanction imposed. After the number of cases had risen, persons over the age of 65 and persons with chronic diseases were forbidden from going outside by the ministerial circular issued on 21 March 2021.181 An additional circular which was issued the following day introduced exceptions to the prohibition.182

67.  Persons who were born after 1 January 2000 were also prohibited from leaving their homes with the ministerial circular dated 3 April 2020.183 Two days later, some exceptions to the prohibition were likewise promulgated by an additional circular.184 According to this circular, a certain category of young persons who were born between 1 January 2000 and 1 January 2002 were allowed to leave their homes. In particular, public servants, regular private sector employees, and seasonal agricultural workers were allowed to go out, provided that they carried documents proving their status. Any official reason was not provided for singling out this group but when we look at the exceptions, it seems that the Government was trying to reduce mobility as much as possible. In this regard, the group of non-working young persons that was not contributing to the economy directly and was receiving distance education was a good target for imposing mobility restrictions.

68.  The first general curfew was imposed in the second weekend of April 2020. A ministerial circular dated 10 April 2020, imposed a curfew starting Friday night and ending early morning on Monday in 31 cities.185 According to the circular, people who were working at health facilities, pharmacies, bakeries, permanent community services, the energy sector, courier companies, farms, the media sector, or security and emergency services were exempt from the curfew. The curfew was announced three hours before it started, and the unexpectedness of the measure caused panic among the people: thousands rushed into markets, bakeries, and other stores just after the announcement, resulting in crowds that severely compromised social distancing. After receiving heavy criticism, the Minister of the Interior Süleyman Soylu declared his resignation, but President Erdoğan declined to accept it.186 Similar curfews were imposed in the same cities on weekends in April 2020. On 6 May 2020, the number of cities was reduced to 24, though similar curfews and exceptions were applied during those weekends as well.187

69.  With the ministerial circular dated 6 May 2020, persons above the age of 65, with chronic diseases, and persons under the age of 20 were allowed to go out for a limited time.188 Persons above the age of 65 and people with chronic diseases were allowed to go out on Sunday 10 May 2020 between 11am and 3pm. Persons under the age of 20 were allowed to go out on Friday 15 May 2020 between 11am and 3pm. Similar circulars were issued in the following days in May 2020. These circulars also expanded the scale of exemptions to be applied during the curfews,189 though ‘weekend curfews’ continued in 15 big cities of Turkey in May 2020. A general curfew was also imposed during the Ramadan Feast (Eid al-fitr) all over Turkey between 22 May and 26 May 2020.190 After May 2020, a curfew was imposed only partially in the last weekend of June 2020 in order to prevent large crowds during the university qualifying exams.

70.  Due to the rising number of cases in November 2020, partial curfews were again imposed. A ministerial circular forbade people over the age 65 from going out except between 10am and 4pm daily.191 In the next week, a new circular was issued and weekend curfews were imposed all over the country again. Freedom of movement for the elderly and young persons on weekdays was again limited. Persons above the age of 65 were allowed to go out between 10am and 1pm, while persons under the age of 20 were allowed to go out between 1pm and 4pm. As the number of cases rose again, weekend curfews started to be imposed regularly, from 1 December 2020 until 2 March 2021.192 Apart from the exceptions, it was also possible to go to markets, bakeries, and similar places until 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Crucially, it was forbidden to use cars or other means to go shopping. It was also forbidden to go out on weekdays between 9pm and 5am. Exceptions to the curfews on weekdays and weekends were determined in a similar manner as before.

71.  On 2 March 2021, the measures were relaxed and Turkey entered a fourth stage which was called ‘the process of local decision-making’. During this stage, provinces were categorized into four groups—low risk, medium risk, high risk, and very high risk—in accordance with the ratio of the number of infected persons to the population of each province.193 Weekend curfews were accordingly imposed on a local rather than nationwide basis.194 However, the nationwide prohibition on going out on weekdays between 9pm and 5am continued to apply. In provinces with low and medium risk, the prohibition on going out on weekends was envisaged in a similar manner with weekdays: it was forbidden to go out between 9pm and 5am on Saturdays and Sundays. However, it was only possible to go out on Saturdays between 5am and 9pm in provinces categorized as high and very high risks. In these provinces, Sunday bans on going out remained in force. Special prohibitions for the elderly and young persons were also lifted in provinces with low and medium risks. In the last week of March 2021, the situation in most of the provinces worsened and the number of provinces labelled ‘high risk’ and ‘very high risk’ proliferated considerably. For this reason, curfews starting on Friday and ending early on Monday were imposed in ‘high risk’ provinces again, while limitations in other provinces remained the same.195

72.  From 14 April to 28 April 2021, the prohibition on going out on weekdays was expanded to between 7pm and 5am. Weekend curfews were also imposed all over the country. Additionally, the freedom of movement of the elderly and young persons on weekdays was limited nationwide once more. Persons above the age of 65 were allowed to go out between 10am and 2pm, while persons under the age of 20 were allowed to go out between 2pm and 6pm.196 Between 29 April and 17 May 2020, a nationwide total lockdown was imposed, essentially a blanket curfew without temporal exceptions. However, similar categories of exceptions as before were still accepted. People were allowed to go shopping by foot only for basic needs.197 In the second half of May 2021, curfews were imposed on weekends and after 9pm on weekdays. Turkey moved into a sixth stage, which envisages the gradual lifting of restrictions, at the beginning of June 2021, which saw an easing of restrictions including curfews once again. During this period, curfews were imposed all day long on Sundays and on weekdays between 10pm and 5am. On 21 June 2021, President Erdoğan declared that all the restrictions on going out would be lifted from 1 July 2021 onwards.

73.  Finally, foreign visitors who were present in Turkey for touristic reasons were mostly exempted from curfews.198

2.  Restrictions on international and internal travel

74.  On 29 February 2020, flights from and to Italy, South Korea, and Iraq were suspended.199 A ministerial circular directed at provincial governors on 13 March 2020 halted travel from and to certain European countries the following day. Citizens of these countries could still leave Turkey and repatriation of Turkish citizens from these countries likewise remained possible. It was also decided that people coming from these countries would undergo medical examinations and could be isolated if necessary.200 On 14 March 2020, the border with Georgia was also closed.201 In the ensuing days, the number of countries on which travel restrictions were imposed gradually rose.

75.  From the beginning of the pandemic until June 2021, restrictions have not been uniform. As of 1 June 2021, passengers arriving from certain countries were subject to a mandatory quarantine for 14 days. Passengers arriving from certain countries had to present PCR test reports as well. For the rest, if a passenger was able to prove that they had been vaccinated at least 14 days prior to their arrival to Turkey with international vaccine certificates or that they had been infected in the last six months with official medical reports, they did not have to present a PCR test report before entering Turkey.202

76.  With the ministerial circular dated 28 March 2020, inter-city travel via bus in Turkey was subject to the approval of provincial governors. The following day, airline transportation was subject to the same requirement. It was stated that people who wished to travel with buses and planes had to receive a ‘voyage allowance document’ for bus travel between provinces from competent authorities.203 On 3 April 2020, inter-city travel via any kind of means was restricted for 31 provinces in Turkey. A ministerial circular dated 3 April 2020 prohibited travel to and from the 31 most populated provinces for 15 days.204 The following day, exceptions to the travel ban were introduced with an additional circular. People who were released from hospitals or prisons, people who wanted to attend funerals of their close relatives, people who had arrived in a place in the last five days and had no place to stay, people who completed their military service, as well as people who came from abroad and resided in compulsory quarantine facilities were allowed to apply to ‘travel allowance boards’ to receive a travel permit.205 Afterwards, the inter-city travel ban for the 31 provinces was prolonged twice until 4 May 2020. In the ensuing days, travel limitations were prolonged until 1 June 2020, though the number of provinces with travel bans had already been reduced to 24 and then to 15. During this period, a ministerial circular also enabled persons above the age of 65 to travel wherever they wanted with one person, provided that they would stay at least 30 days in the place they travelled to.206 In order to use this opportunity, an application for a travel allowance document via the internet or phone was required.

77.  With cases reaching record levels in March 2021, new restrictions were accepted with regards to internal travel. From 14–28 April 2021, the use of private cars to travel between cities was prohibited but travel with public transportation was not.207 The circular admitted similar exceptions to this ban as before. As the most restrictive measures were imposed all over the country between the dates of 29 April and 17 May 2021, inter-city travel was banned nationwide during this period apart from compelling reasons and other justified exceptions.208

78.  While the capacity of public transportation was reduced from the beginning of the pandemic, inner-city transportation for people above the age of 65 and under the age of 20 was banned during the peak times of the pandemic.209

3.  Limitations on public and private gatherings and events

79.  Since March 2020, serious limitations on gatherings and events have been introduced in Turkey due to the pandemic. On 16 March 2020, the Ministry of the Interior issued a circular which prohibited general assemblies and all collective activities of non-governmental organizations.210 The circular also suspended activities of condolence houses. These houses are places in which people offer their condolences to the relatives of newly deceased people. In Turkey, they are generally established and operated by local municipalities. With the same circular, activities of wedding celebration halls were also suspended until further notice. On 17 April 2020, Law No 7244, which postponed general assemblies until 31 July 2020, was published in the Official Gazette.211 Authority for further postponement was granted to the Minister of Internal Affairs by this law and was prolonged through Law No 7256.212 Soon after the circular of 16 March 2020, it was also forbidden to receive guests at official marriage ceremonies. This limitation lasted until 15 June 2020.213 Wedding celebration halls started to receive guests as of 1 July 2020.214 However, limitations on the number of guests and length of celebrations were imposed in 14 provinces after the rising number of cases in late August 2020.215 In those 14 provinces, it was also completely prohibited for people above the age of 65 and under the age of 15 to attend these ceremonies. On 2 September 2020, similar restrictions were introduced in all provinces in Turkey.216

80.  On 21 March 2020, the Ministry of the Interior also ordered provincial governors to clamp down on mass celebrations on streets which are traditionally carried out by people in Turkey before joining the army to fulfil their compulsory military service.217 With a circular dated 26 March 2020, the Ministry of the Interior also ordered local municipalities to postpone their ordinary meetings in April, May, and June 2020.218

81.  As the Holy Month of Ramadan started in April 2020, special precautions were taken to ensure physical distancing and prevent people from gathering. Along with the ministerial circular issued one day prior to Ramadan,219 activities including collective meals eaten just before fasting and collective fast-breaking meals were prohibited. The Directorate of Religious Affairs in Turkey also decided that taraweeh prayers could not be carried out collectively in mosques. In spite of a nationwide curfew on International Workers’ Day on 1 May 2020, trade unions were allowed to organize an event in cities with limited persons for a limited time period. In adherence with the laws mentioned above, activities of non-governmental organizations, public profession associations, and unions were postponed between October and December 2020.220 This postponement was prolonged until 1 March 2021.221 It was also forbidden to smoke in public places such as areas closed to traffic and bus stations, as stated in a circular dated 11 November 2020.222 In order to prevent crowds on New Year’s Eve, entrances to major avenues, boulevards, and squares which were famous for gatherings were out of bounds between 9pm on 31 December 2020 and 10am on 1 January 2021.223 Although a curfew was in force during this period, such a prohibition was imposed to prevent the gathering of foreign tourists who were exempt from the curfew.

82.  As stated above, the measures were relaxed and a fourth stage called ‘the process of local decision making’ started at the beginning of March 2021. According to a circular issued on 2 March 2021, wedding ceremonies were allowed in cities categorized as low and medium risk for one hour with a maximum of 100 persons provided that a minimum of eight square metres of space was allocated for each person. The same conditions were also accepted in cities categorized as high and very high risk, as long as the number of guests did not exceed 50. Activities of non-governmental organizations, public profession associations, and unions were also allowed with a maximum of 300 persons in cities categorized as low, medium, and high risk, provided that eight square metres of space was allocated for each person and governors were informed about—and thus could effectively supervise—the meetings. In this regard, district officials made visits to these meetings without notices and controlled the implementation of rules. However, the prohibition remained in force in cities categorized as very high risk.224 Activities of non-governmental organizations, public profession associations, and unions were also prohibited from 14 April to 1 June 2021.225 Wedding ceremonies were also halted during the total lockdown period.

4.  Closure of premises and facilities (eg schools, shops, services, parks, churches, sport facilities)

83.  After the ‘Covid-19 Virus Summit’ headed by President Erdoğan on 13 March 2020, primary, elementary, and high schools were closed as of 16 March 2020 for one week. It was subsequently decided that they would continue remote learning from 23 March 2020 onwards. During this summit, it was also decided that universities should be closed for three weeks.226 On 25 March 2020, the Minister of National Education and Minister of Health jointly declared that schools would be kept closed until the end of April 2020 and remote learning would continue during this period.227 In late September 2020, after the summer holiday, pre-school students and first-year primary school students started face-to-face teaching.228 They were joined by other levels in the second week of October 2020. Most of the primary, secondary, and high school students attended their classes. In small towns which lacked advanced internet infrastructure, all students of all levels—except those in universities—returned to their schools. In the ensuing days, a hybrid system was adopted. Under this system, students of different levels went to school on different days and would use remote learning platforms on the days they stayed at home.229 After the number of infected people rose in November 2020, all the schools except kindergartens returned to complete remote learning.230 In the spring semester of 2021, certain schools were opened again according to their cities’ risk level, in line with measures being applied on a local rather than nationwide basis. In April 2021, all students across Turkey except for kindergarteners and those in the final grades of elementary and high school resumed remote learning.231 By the end of the April 2021, all schools except for kindergartens had adopted remote learning completely, though schools were opened for students of certain levels once again on 17 May 2021.232

84.  In short, from the start of the pandemic until the end of the 2021 spring semester, all universities engaged in remote learning, with some exceptions related to medical training and engineering in particular, kindergartens remained open except for a few weeks, and different levels of primary, secondary, and high schools adopted hybrid systems in the periods when case numbers were low, but mostly remained closed and principally used remote learning tools.

85.  On the other hand, in accordance with the ministerial circular issued by the Ministry of the Interior, bars, discotheques, and night clubs were closed on 16 March 2020 until further notice.233 With an additional circular issued the next day, theatres, cinemas, concert halls, ceremony halls, restaurants, cafes, bistros, internet cafes and similar game centres, playgrounds, amusement parks, swimming pools, spas, and sport centres were also closed.234 Four days later, hairdressers, coiffeurs, and beauty salons were also closed via ministerial circular.235 On 21 March 2020, restaurants, patisseries, and similar places were allowed to sell take-away foods.236 The ministerial circular issued on 27 March 2020 also prohibited outdoor activities such as walking near the shores or in forests, fishing, and having picnics during weekends. It was also stated that the prohibition could also encompass weekdays depending on the situation in cities and smaller areas.237

86.  At the beginning of May 2020, restrictions began to be loosened. From 11 May 2020, hairdressers, coiffeurs, and beauty salons were opened under strict rules such as limited operating hours as well as physical distancing and mask requirements. Certain activities such as those involving skincare also remained forbidden in these facilities.238 Between 16 March and 29 May 2020, mosques were also closed to worship all over the country.239 This measure was criticized as an excessive restriction on the constitutional freedom of worship and religion.240 After 29 May 2020, mosques were opened with some restrictions, such as limiting collective prayer to three times in a day. Friday prayers had to be conducted in open fields. The ban on performing ablution in mosques remained in effect and people were advised to do it in private places before coming to mosques.241

87.  Other restrictions were similarly eased at the beginning of June 2020. Restaurants, cafes, and bistros were allowed to serve customers indoors until 10pm every day; swimming pools, bathhouses, and similar places were also opened under the same conditions. Sport centres were allowed to open until 12am as well. With effect from 1 June 2020 onwards, outdoor activities—except for barbecues in residential areas—were also allowed.242 In the next month, internet cafes and similar game centres were also opened with strict physical distancing conditions attached.243 Lastly, all restrictions on operating hours were lifted on 21 July 2020.244

88.  In conjunction with the rising case rate, limitations started to be imposed again on 4 November 2020. First of all, most of the aforementioned premises and facilities were made to operate until only 10pm again.245 On 20 November 2020, restaurants, patisseries, and similar places were only allowed to sell take-away foods as serving indoors was once again forbidden. On the same date, cinemas, internet cafes and similar game centers and football fields were also closed again.246 On 1 December 2020, swimming pools, bathhouses, and amusement parks were closed and the operating hours of shops that were allowed to open were also subjected to further restrictions, such as operating until 8pm on weekdays.247

89.  Along with the ‘process of local decision making’ which started at the beginning of March 2021, the closure of premises and facilities started to be applied on a local basis. Within this framework, cafes, restaurants, and similar places were allowed to serve indoors until 7pm in cities categorized as low, medium, and high risk. In cities categorized as very high risk, the status quo was not changed, but cafes, restaurants, and similar places in these cities were allowed to sell food for take-away until 12am. In cities categorized as low and medium risk, football fields and swimming pools were also opened, provided that they operated only between 9am and 7pm.248 In the last week of March 2021, cafes and restaurants in cities categorized as high risk were also allowed to serve indoors with the same conditions as other cities.249 With the ministerial circular issued on 30 March 2021, it was re-emphasized that internet cafes, game centres, amusement parks, public bathrooms, and similar places were allowed to operate in cities categorized as low, medium, and high risk between 7am and 9pm under strict conditions. It was also stated that the public health commissions of provinces are competent to determine the status of these places in cities categorized as very high risk.250 Between 14 April and 16 May 2021, restaurants, cafes, and similar places were forbidden to serve indoors. Football fields, swimming pools, sport centres, beauty centres, public bathrooms, amusement parks, as well as internet cafes and similar game centres were also closed during this period.251

90.  From the beginning of the pandemic until June 2021, markets, butchers, grocers, and bakeries were kept open but operating hours were generally restricted to seven hours between 10am and 5pm on curfew days. Restaurants and cafes were also allowed to sell take-away foods on curfew days. On 1 June 2021, restrictions started to be eased. Restaurants and cafes started to serve their customers indoors again.

5.  Physical distancing

91.  Rules regarding physical distancing were generally imposed by circulars issued by the Ministry of the Interior. In addition to these circulars, many ministries and other administrative units also issued similar instructions regarding physical distancing. From 24 March 2020 to the time of writing, the number of customers at supermarkets has been restricted. A minimum space of 10 square metres was to be allocated for each person. There was to be a mandatory one-metre distance between persons queuing at the entrance to enter the markets as well.252 Similar restrictions were also applied to bazaars, making it necessary to impose at least a three-metre separation between stands.253 Several of the aforementioned bans on outdoor activities could be considered measures to guarantee physical distancing between people as well. Within the ministerial circular issued on 3 April 2020, law enforcement officers were ordered to warn people who were walking together on streets, avenues, and squares without paying attention to physical distancing rules, and to apply legal action if these people insisted on not maintaining a distance.254

92.  Hairdressers, coiffeurs, and beauty salons were also obliged to impose strict physical distancing when they were open. On 11 May 2020 these facilities were opened but obliged to operate on an appointment basis and within their premises one of two adjacent seats had to be left empty. Prohibitions on activities which required close contact such as skincare services remained in force as well.255 Similar physical distancing rules were also applied in internet cafes and similar game centres: a minimum of four-square metres of space had to be allocated for each person, there had to be at least a one-metre distance between playing units, and if a playing unit was occupied by more than one person, there had to be a distance of at least one metre between the players.256

93.  Taxis were ordered to take a maximum of three people and to offer payment types which allow for minimum contact such as contactless credit cards.257 Within this scope, administrative fines were imposed on taxi drivers who took more than three people at once.258 The number of passengers to be allowed on public transportation was also reduced as of March 2020. Inter-city and urban transportation systems were generally obliged to accommodate passengers at half capacity. On small transportation such as minibuses, people were not allowed to stand. Local decision-making bodies such as public health commissions of provinces were enabled to decide on restrictions on urban transportation as well.

6.  Use of face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE)

94.  A ministerial circular issued on 3 April 2020 introduced an obligation to wear masks in bazaars, markets, and other workplaces in which more than one person was present.259 However, the sale of masks was forbidden by the President on 6 April 2020 in a live press release and masks were instead distributed by public authorities free of charge.260 Because of the problems arising from the distribution of free masks, the sale of surgical masks was allowed from 6 May 2020 onwards provided that each mask could be sold at a maximum of 1 Turkish Lira.261 On 19 June 2020, the obligation to wear a mask in open spaces was imposed in many cities in Turkey.262 The ministerial circular dated 8 September 2020 extended the obligation to wear a mask in all public spaces to the whole country.263

7.  Isolation of infected individuals and quarantine of individuals suspected of infection

95.  On 7 February 2020, the Ministry of Health demanded that China’s embassy and Ministry of Labour grant 14 days day off to Chinese workers coming from China to Turkey.264 Turkish citizens coming from China and Iran were also placed into quarantine for 14 days after their arrival into Turkey.265 On 9 March 2020, the Ministry of Health also recommended that citizens who had returned to Turkey in the last 14 days ‘to isolate themselves’ at their homes.266 This advice was optional. With the ministerial circular directed at provincial governors on 13 March 2020, it was ordered to examine people coming from abroad and if necessary to place them into quarantine.267 More than 5,000 citizens were also placed into dormitories in March 2020 after their arrival from ummah, Saudi Arabia.268 Persons who did not want to be put into quarantine or tried to escape from the dormitories were forced to abide by the rules effectively by law enforcement officers.

96.  As stated above, with the ministerial circular dated 28 March 2020, inter-city travels with buses in Turkey were subjected to the approval of provincial governors. The same circular also ordered provincial governors to regulate the entry of people who were allowed to travel into the provinces under their respective control. If there was a valid reason to put someone into quarantine, provincial governors were enabled to do so.269 At the end of March 2020, the Ministry of the Interior declared that 39 settlements and residential areas of different scale were under quarantine as a result of the decisions of province and district public health commissions.270 On 8 April 2020, the number of settlements and residential areas under quarantine rose to 156.271

97.  According to the ministerial circular issued on 11 September 2020, people who violated isolation requirements would be forcibly placed into dormitories or guesthouses. Criminal complaints would also be filed against them pursuant to Article 195 of the Turkish Criminal Code, which provides for imprisonments from two months to a year for persons who do not comply with the measures taken by competent authorities regarding quarantines.272 In the same circular, it was also indicated that provincial governors would designate dormitories and guesthouses for people who should be isolated but were unable to do so.273

98.  On 8 December 2020, the quarantine period for close contacts of a person confirmed to have Covid-19 was decreased to ten days, or to seven days with a negative PCR test result.274 On 29 May 2021, this quarantine duration was increased back to 14 days or ten days with a negative PCR test result.275

8.  Testing, treatment, and vaccination

99.  Covid-19 tests are free in State hospitals in Turkey but, in order to be tested, it is necessary to fall within the ‘probable case definition’, meaning that persons who want to be tested must exhibit some symptoms. This definition is made by the Ministry of Health.276 In private hospitals, it is possible to be tested for a fee without this condition. The Ministry of Health has imposed a price ceiling on the fee for a Covid-19 test in private hospitals by declaring and sending an official circular to all health institutions and organizations, so that it cannot exceed 250 Turkish Liras (approximately 20 euros). If it is a pre-departure test for overseas travel that is required, it is also priced as such in State hospitals.

100.  Treatment for Covid-19 disease is offered free of charge by State hospitals in Turkey regardless of whether it is carried out in the hospital. By virtue of the presidential order dated 13 April 2020, people without social security are also treated free of charge.277 Private hospitals are subsidized by the State but also charge a fee for hospital stays for Covid-19 patients. After testing and an assessment of their condition, patients are treated at home or in the hospital based on the severity of the disease. For home treatments, medicines are brought to patients’ homes and patients are monitored by mobile health workers.

101.  At the time of writing, vaccination is not compulsory in Turkey. The Turkish Health Minister insisted that one of the Health Ministry’s most important objectives is ‘persuading reluctant people to get vaccinated’. With this aim, ‘persuasion teams’, consisting of local governors and healthcare workers who visit the homes of non-vaccinated people, were established.278 However, practices favouring vaccinated people gained the most attention. For example, a ministerial circular dated 16 May 2021 granted people over the age of 65 who were fully vaccinated the same privileges that the rest of the population had been enjoying. According to the same circular, people who were not vaccinated despite being over the age of 65 were only allowed to go out of their homes between 10am and 2pm during weekdays.279

102.  The Ministry of Health designated a special website for vaccinations. The website offers information and statistics regarding the vaccination. The first vaccination against Covid-19 in Turkey was on 13 January 2021 and the Minister of Health was eager to be the first person to encourage others to get vaccinated. The Ministry of Health came up with a national implementation strategy for the Covid-19 vaccine consisting of four general phases. In the first phase, healthcare workers and persons over the age of 65 were vaccinated. In the second phase, people working in important sectors for the continuation of services such as teachers, judges, and soldiers, as well as people over the age of 50, were vaccinated. The third phase includes the vaccination of persons with chronic diseases and people over the age of 18. As of 24 June 2021, Turkey is in this third phase and 30,054,046 persons have received their first dose of vaccination while 14,663,049 persons have had their second dose.280 Currently, people over the age of 25 are being vaccinated. In a few days from the time of writing, the vaccination will be available for all adults in Turkey.

9.  Contact tracing procedures

103.  A filiation method was used for contact tracing in Turkey.281 The Ministry of Health issued a mobile application named ‘Life Fits Home’ (Hayat Eve Sığar) (HES) in March 2020,282 which all people in Turkey were able to download. The application informed users of Covid-19 risk areas in their neighbourhoods and beyond.283 Furthermore, it allowed users to create codes containing information on their risk status for Covid-19 infection.284 The HES codes were designed as singular codes which could be deleted and repeatedly created by the user, with safeguards to prevent the disclosure of official identification data.285 Understandably, these personal codes were and are used to track people. If users of the application check in at places they visit, it is also possible to receive close contact warnings from the application. For example, if person A visits the same place as person B, A will receive a notification from the application if B’s subsequent PCRtest result is positive. It is also possible to notify competent authorities about enterprises’ violations of Covid-19 measures via the application.286

104.  As travel restrictions began to be eased on 1 June 2020, the presentation of a HES code was made compulsory for inter-city travel via buses, trains, planes, etc. In September 2020, the Ministry of Health began coordinating with municipalities to integrate the HES code application with urban transportation cards.287 In the same month, it also became mandatory to submit HES codes before entering State institutions and organizations.288 Consequently, public institutions and workplaces with a certain number of workers were integrated to the system and enabled to scan HES codes.289 The ministerial circular issued on 30 September 2020 ordered the integration of HES codes with urban transportation cards in all municipalities throughout the country.290 According to the circular, if a person who should have been under quarantine or isolation boarded public transportation, the individual would be reported to the competent governorate for administrative and/or criminal sanctions. It was also made compulsory to present HES codes before entering hotels, guesthouses, and similar places.291 Subsequently, this requirement was also envisaged for entry into shopping malls.292 Lastly, it was made mandatory for people coming from abroad to present their HES codes as of 15 March 2021.293

105.  The use of HES codes mainly served as a measure to contain the spread of the virus in the public sphere. The Turkish Medical Association expressed its misgivings about this application and emphasized the risks it bears.294 In this regard, the Association especially warned against the risk of misuse of personal data and insisted on the necessity for detailed legal guarantees for the collection of it.

10.  Measures in long-term care facilities or homes for the elderly, restrictions on visitors, etc

106.  The primary measure taken in long-term care facilities and homes for the elderly has been a prohibition on visits. In compliance with other measures, this measure was tightened and loosened in accordance with the pandemic situation. Generally, these prohibitions were imposed and lifted by circulars issued by the Ministry of the Interior.295 Workers in these facilities and homes for the elderly were exempted from curfews since the beginning of the pandemic.296 The Ministry of Family and Social Services also issued various regulations regarding the operation of these facilities and homes, including detailed directives for their protection and cleanliness.297

B.  Enforcement and compliance

1.  Enforcement

107.  As stated above, most of the measures were taken through circulars issued by the Ministry of the Interior. These circulars were generally grounded on Article 11(C) of the Law on Provincial Administration and Articles 27 and 72 of the Law on General Protection of Public Health.

108.  In enforcing these measures, the Ministry of the Interior collaborated with municipalities and municipal personnel, especially with regards to the supervision of workplaces.298 In most of the circulars, it was stated that non-compliance with the decision taken by competent authorities could lead to administrative action pursuant to Article 282 of the Law on General Protection of Public Health. It was also stated that Article 195 of the Turkish Criminal Code could be triggered as well if the act in question constituted a crime.299

109.  Criminal complaints were filed against business owners who violated these rules.300 Administrative sanctions were also imposed on businesses: warnings, administrative fines, and the termination of activities were applied.301 There were also investigations conducted against persons who manipulated and incited others by sharing fake news and images regarding Covid-19 on social media.302 It is not possible to find coherent criteria on what was considered to be ‘fake news and images’, but certain regulations in the Turkish Criminal Code were used as justifications for investigations,303 such as acts of threats committed to spread fear and panic among the public (Article 213) and acts provoking the public to hatred (Article 216). Transportation companies who accepted passengers without asking for their HES codes were also subjected to administrative fines and a termination of activities for ten days.304

110.  Unlike most other European countries, high courts in Turkey have not issued important judgments regarding the legality of or other important matters surrounding the measures. There are some decisions issued by first instance courts invalidating administrative fines imposed on citizens for acting contrary to the measures, but these judgments were made due to procedural deficiencies. From March 2020 to July 2021, the most important decision regarding the measures was given by the Court of Cassation in Turkey. According to this decision, the breaking of face-covering rules must be punished pursuant to the Law on General Protection of Public Health rather than the Law on Provincial Administration, which means that citizens consequently have to pay higher administrative fines.305 Criticisms raised by academics306 regarding the legality and proportionality of the measures have not yet been answered by the courts.

2.  Compliance

111.  For general statistics on compliance with the measures, it is best to turn to declarations made by the Ministry of the Interior, where it shares these statistics at regular intervals. It is not possible to provide all the statistics here, but two in particular might be helpful in understanding the general trend regarding compliance with the measures. According to a statement made on 3 May 2020, 27,828 persons faced administrative and criminal sanctions for breaching the curfew between 30 April and 3 May 2020.307 The following week, the numbers for breaching the curfew imposed between 8 and 10 May 2020 dropped to 13,716.308 Pursuant to the order of the Ministry of Interior, nationwide inspections were carried out on several dates. For example, as a result of one of these inspections on 15 May 2020, 2,171 persons were sanctioned.309 According to the announcement of the Ministry of Interior, another nationwide inspection was executed on 6 November 2020. On that day, operating permissions of 105 public transportation means including inner/inter-city buses and taxis were terminated for breaching the rules, 4,336 working places were warned, the operation of 13 working places were terminated, 6,412 persons were sanctioned for breaching the rules regarding mask-wearing, and 12 persons who travelled without HES codes were detected—585 criminal complaints were filed against enterprises or persons as well.310

112.  Looking at the statistics at the beginning of 2021, one encounters similar numbers. According to the official press release of the Ministry of the Interior, ‘curfew rules are generally observed’. At the beginning of 2021, from 11–18 January 2021, 24,755 persons were sanctioned for breaching the curfews.311 Unfortunately, there is no coherent empirical data regarding the compliance covering the entire process, at least at time of writing.

Asst. Prof. Serkan Köybaşı, Bahçeşehir University

Asst. Prof. Volkan Aslan, Istanbul University

Res. Asst. Naciye Betül Haliloğlu, Istanbul University

Footnotes:

1  E Ç Zontur, ‘Turkey confirms first death from coronavirus’ Anadolu Agency (Online, 18 March 2020).

2  World Health Organization, ‘Turkey Situation’ (accessed 18 October 2021).

3  Ministry of Health of Turkey, ‘Covid Information Platform’ (accessed 18 October 2021).

5  European Commission, ‘Commission Staff Working Document, Turkey 2020 Report’ (SWD(2020) 355 final) (6 October 2020), 12.

6  Constitution, Part III, ch I.

7  Constitution, art 75.

8  Constitution, art 77.

9  Yumak and Sadak v Turkey No 10226/03 (European Court of Human Rights), [76].

10  Constitution, art 77.

11  E Bektaş, ‘The Relationship Between Legislature and Executive in Turkish Presidential System and its Effects on Turkish Democracy’ (Cumhurbaşkanlığı Hükümet Sisteminde Yasama-Yürütme İlişkisi ve Bu Sistemin Türkiye Demokrasisine Etkileri) (2019) 39 Yasama Dergisi 199, 208; G Seufert, ‘A presidential system »Turkish style«’ SWP-Studie 2019/S 04 (2019), 9–10.

12  Constitution, art 104(2).

13  Constitution, art 8.

14  Constitution, art 101.

15  Constitution, art 104(8).

16  Constitution, art 104(9).

17  Constitution, art 3.

18  Constitution, art 3.

19  Constitution, art 123.

21  V Aslan, ‘Constitutionality of Covid-19 Related Curfews in Turkey’ (Covid-19 Salgını Sebebiyle Uygulanan Sokağa Çıkma Kısıtlamalarının 1982 Anayasası’na Uygunluğu) (2020) 78(2) İstanbul Hukuk Mecmuası 809–835.

22  Constitution, art 119.

23  Constitution, art 1.

24  Constitution, art 2.

25  Constitution, art 4.

26  The document’s number has not been disclosed to the authors due to internal confidentiality.

27  Ministry of Health, ‘Measures Towards the Coronavirus Outbreak’ (13 March 2020).

28  Ministry of Health, ‘Not Wearing a Mask is a Violation of Personal Rights’ (24 June 2020).

30  English version of Article 11(C) of the Law on Provincial Administration (taken from V Aslan, ‘Constitutionality of Covid-19 Related Curfews in Turkey’ (2020) 78(2) İstanbul Hukuk Mecmuası 809, 810.

33  O Akbulut, ‘Is Mandatory Vaccination Against Covid-19 Possible in Turkey?’ IstanPol, Political Paper (15 June 2020).

39  E Bektaş, ‘The Relationship Between Legislature and Executive in Turkish Presidential System and its Effects on Turkish Democracy’ (2019) 39 Yasama Dergisi 199, 208; G Seufert, ‘A presidential system »Turkish style«’ SWP-Studie 2019/S 04 (2019), 9–10.

40  Constitution, art 104(17).

41  Presidential Decision (No 3318) (22 December 2020).

42  Presidential Decree No 1 (10 July 2018).

43  Constitution, arts 150, 151.

44  Constitution, art 152.

45  Ministry of Health, ‘Covid-19 Outbreak Management and Employment Guide’ (1 October 2020).

46  V Aslan, ‘Constitutionality of Covid-19 Related Curfews in Turkey’ (2020) 78(2) İstanbul Hukuk Mecmuası 809-835.

47  F Artvinli, ‘The Epidemic Management in Turkey: Problem of Institutionalisation and Organisational Memory’ (Türkiye’de Salgın Yönetimi: Kurumsallaşma ve Kurumsal Hafıza Sorunu) IstanPol Policy Paper (December 2020).

48  Constitution, art 119(7).

49  Constitution, art 150.

50  Constitution, art 98.

52  M Bülbül, ‘Written Question in Parliament as a Way of Parliamentary Control’ (Bir Parlamenter Denetim Yolu Olarak TBMM’de Yazılı Soru) (2007) 4 Yasama Dergisi 27, 50.

53  See eg GNAT, Written Question No 7/41529, Legislative Year 27/4 (19 February 2021).

54  Speakership of the GNAT, Answer to Written Question of Parliamentarians No. 7/37547 (28 December 2020).

55  Speakership of the GNAT, Answer to Written Question of Parliamentarians No. 7/19320 (25 October 2019).

56  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘Partial Lockdown Circular Sent to 81 Provincial Governorship’ (14 April 2021).

57  GNAT Committee on Health, Family, Labour and Social Affairs, Official Report on 3rd Meeting on 21 July 2020 Legislative Year 27/3, 7.

58  GNAT Decision on Recess No 1243 (15 April 2020).

60  GNAT Decision on Recess No 1275 (22 December 2020).

63  Council of Judges and Prosecutors General Secretariat, ‘Announcement on Covid-19 Measures’ (13 March 2020).

66  Individual Application Gökhan Gündüz (4) No 2018/13782 (10 March 2021) (Constitutional Ct), [43].

68  Ministry of Justice, ‘National Judiciary Informatics System (UYAP)’ (accessed 30 June 2021); see also Circular of the Ministry of Justice on UYAP (No 124/1) (10 November 2011); Ministry of Justice, ‘Minister Gül Announced New Measures Against Coronavirus in Judicial Services’ (16 March 2020).

69  Ministry of Justice, ‘Rota System Initiated in Courthouses and Notary Offices’ (23 March 2020).

73  Constitutional Court, ‘Extension of Time Limit for Individual Application’ (31 March 2020).

74  Council of Judges and Prosecutors General Secretariat, ‘Announcement on Additional Measures on Covid-19’ (30 March 2020).

75  Council of Judges and Prosecutors General Secretariat, ‘Decision on Extension of Covid-19 Measures’ (30 April 2020).

78  Ministry of Justice, ‘Courthouses are Ready for the New Normal, Legal Time Periods Start to Run’ (16 June 2020)

80  Ministry of Justice, ‘Ministry of Justice Issued New Guidelines on Working Principles’ (31 May 2020).

81  Ministry of Justice, ‘Covid-19 Measures’ (4 June 2020).

83  Council of Judges and Prosecutors General Secretariat, ‘Measures on Covid-19’ (14 April 2021).

84  Council of Judges and Prosecutors General Secretariat, ‘Total Lockdown Measures’ (27 April 2021).

88  H Pekcanıtez, O Atalay, and M Özekes, ‘Evaluation of the Law Proposal for Amendments to Some Laws with the Law on Legal Procedures (2020)’ Lexpera Blog (Online, 30 March 2020).

89  H Pekcanıtez, O Atalay, and M Özekes, ‘Evaluation of the Law No 7251 Amending Civil Procedure Law and Other Laws’ (Hukuk Muhakemeleri Kanunu’nda Değişiklik Yapılmasına Dair 7251 Sayılı Kanun Hakkında Değerlendirme) (2020) 150 Türkiye Barolar Birliği Dergisi 247, 275-278.

90  H Pekcanıtez, O Atalay, and M Özekes, ‘Evaluation of the Law No 7251 Amending Civil Procedure Law and Other Laws’ (2020) 150 Türkiye Barolar Birliği Dergisi 247, 278; H Pekcanıtez, O Atalay, and M Özekes, ‘Evaluation of the Law Proposal for Amendments to Some Laws with the Law on Legal Procedures (2020)’ Lexpera Blog (Online, 30 March 2020).

91  Ministry of Justice, ‘Law No 7251 Consists of 64 Articles’ (July 2020).

92  Ministry of Justice, ‘What Is an Online Hearing?’ (accessed 30 June 2021).

93  Ministry of Justice, ‘Online Hearings Initiated in 47 Courthouses’ (6 November 2020).

94  Ministry of Justice, ‘Minister Announced That Online Hearings Take Place in Two Main Courthouses of Istanbul’ (accessed 30 June 2021).

95  See eg K Gözler, Turkish Constitutional Law (Türk Anayasa Hukuku) (2nd edn Ekin 2018), 957.

96  See eg E Özbudun, Turkish Constitutional Law (Türk Anayasa Hukuku) (18th edn Yetkin Yayınları 2018), 333.

97  E 1970/44, K 1970/42 (17 November 1970) (Constitutional Ct).

98  E 1970/839, K 1970/442 (3 July 1970) (Council of State).

104  See Supreme Election Committee of Turkey, ‘List of Elections’ (accessed 30 June 2021).

106  Ministry of the Interior, ‘An Additional Covid-19 Circular Was Sent to 81 Province’ (2 October 2020).

108  Istanbul Bar Association, ‘To the Press and Public’ (2 October 2020, updated 13 October 2020).

109  Istanbul Bar Association, ‘To the Press and Public’ (3 October 2020, updated 14 October 2020).

110  Istanbul Bar Association, ‘To the Press and Public’ (2 October 2020, updated 13 October 2020).

114  Istanbul Bar Association, ‘To the Press and Public’ (2 October 2020, updated 13 October 2020).

116  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Controlled Normalization Process in Combating Covid-19’ (2 March 2021).

117  Istanbul Bar Association, ‘Do Not Touch Elections of Bar Associations’ (14 March 2021).

118  Istanbul Bar Association ‘Announcement on General Assembly’ (4 May 2021); Ankara Bar Association, ‘Announcement’ (accessed 30 June 2021).

119  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Normalization Measures for June’ (1 June 2021).

122  See eg Izmir Bar Association, ‘The General Assembly of the Izmir Bar Association Re-elected Attorney Özkan Yücel as President of the Bar Association’ (12 July 2021); Ankara Bar Association, ‘Announcement’ (20 September 2021).

123  Istanbul Bar Association, ‘Announcement to the Public and Our Colleagues’ (28 June 2021).

124  Istanbul Bar Association No 2, ‘The 1st Ordinary General Assembly of The Istanbul Bar Association No 2 Is Completed’ (4 July 2021).

125  World Health Organization, ‘Turkey’s Response to Covid-19: First Impressions’ (11 July 2020), 7; Ombudsman Institution of Turkey ‘Special Report: Turkey’s Combat with Covid-19’ (June 2020), 36.

126  World Health Organization, ‘Turkey’s Response to Covid-19: First Impressions’ (11 July 2020), 7; Ombudsman Institution of Turkey ‘Special Report: Turkey’s Combat with Covid-19’ (June 2020), 36.

127  Turkish Medical Association, ‘Covid-19 Measures Should Be Tightened, Preparations Should Be Accelerated’ (16 March 2020).

128  Turkish Medical Association, ‘Health Labour-Professional Organizations: In Light of Ethical Principles Vaccination Should Be Fair and Free of Charge’ (18 December 2020); Turkish Medical Association, ‘Health in Turkey, Overshadowed by the Covid-19 Pandemic’ (23 February 2021).

129  See eg Ministry of Health, ‘Statement Concerning CSAB Meeting (22.07.2020)’ (24 July 2020); Ministry of Health, ‘Statement Concerning CSAB Meeting (16.02.2021)’ (16 February 2021).

130  Turkish Medical Association, ‘Health in Turkey, Overshadowed by the Covid-19 Pandemic’ (23 February 2021).

131  Turkish Medical Association, ‘The Pandemic is Mismanaged, Those Responsible of Preventable Deaths Should Resign’ (26 March 2021).

132  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘An Additional Covid-19 Circular Was Sent to 81 Province’ (2 October 2020).

133  See eg Council of Judges and Prosecutors General Secretariat, ‘Measures on Covid-19’ (13 March 2020).

135  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘Controlled Normalization Process in Combating Covid-19’ (2 March 2021).

136  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Supervision of Covid-19 Measures Nationwide’ (6 August 2020).

137  Turkish Medical Association, ‘We Are Concerned of Rapid Loosening of Measures’ (5 June 2020); Turkish Medical Association, ‘The Pandemic is Mismanaged, Those Responsible for Preventable Deaths Should Resign’ (26 March 2021).

138  Turkish Medical Association, ‘Health in Turkey, Overshadowed by the Covid-19 Pandemic’ (23 February 2021).

139  Ministry of Health, ‘The Minister Evaluated the One Year Covid-19 Combat of Turkey’ (11 March 2021).

140  Ombudsman Institution of Turkey, ‘Special Report: Turkey’s Combat with Covid-19’ (June 2020), 75.

143  Ministry of Health, ‘Minister Koca chaired the Board of Social Sciences Meeting’ (22 June 2020).

144  See eg Municipality of Istanbul, ‘Scientific Advisory Board Recommendation’ (7 April 2020).

145  See eg Municipality of Istanbul Scientific Advisory Board, ‘October 2020 Report on Updated Situation’ (October 2020), 16.

146  Municipality of Istanbul Scientific Advisory Board, ‘Recommendations for Outbreak Management from Municipality of Istanbul Scientific Advisory Board’ (13 April 2020); Municipality of Istanbul Scientific Advisory Board, ‘October 2020 Report on Updated Situation’ (October 2020), 10, 11.

147  Municipality of Istanbul Scientific Advisory Board, ‘Normalization Is Not a Way Back to the Pre-Pandemic Period’ (22 May 2020).

148  Municipality of Istanbul Scientific Advisory Board, ‘Press Release of Municipality of Istanbul Scientific Advisory Board on 15 April 2021’ (15 April 2021).

150  Press Institution of Turkey, Board Decision on the Application of Law No 195 During the Covid-19 Pandemic (No 212) (13 May 2020); Press Institution of Turkey, Board Decision on the Application of Law No 195 During the Covid-19 Pandemic (No 215) (17 February 2021).

151  Ministry of Treasury and Finance, Regulation Regarding Law on Tax Procedure (No 518) (24 March 2020).

152  See eg Minstry of Interior, ‘Two-day Curfew’ (10 April 2020).

153  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘Partial Lockdown Circular Sent to 81 Provincial Governorship’ (14 April 2021).

154  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Frequently Asked Questions on the Total Lockdown Circular’ (4 May 2021).

155  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Measures Regarding Gradual Normalization’ (16 May 2021).

157  See eg H Adal, ‘We No Longer Chase After Coronavirus News After Being Detained’ Bianet (Online, 23 March 2020); Detained for Reporting on Coronavirus, 2 Local Journalists Released’ Bianet (Online, 20 March 2020); Detention on Corona Virus News’ Sözcü (Online, 14 March 2020).

158  International Press Institution, ‘IPI Tracker on Press Freedom Violations Linked to Covid-19 Coverage 2020 Turkey’ (2020).

163  Ombudsman Institution of Turkey, ‘Special Report: Turkey’s Combat with Covid-19’ (June 2020), 231.

164  Ombudsman Institution of Turkey, ‘Special Report: Turkey’s Combat with Covid-19’ (June 2020), 248–250.

165  Ombudsman Institution of Turkey, ‘Special Report: Turkey’s Combat with Covid-19’ (June 2020), 251–253.

166  Ombudsman Institution of Turkey, ‘Special Report: Turkey’s Combat with Covid-19’ (June 2020), 29.

167  Ombudsman Institution of Turkey, ‘2020 Annual Report’ (January 2021), 60–61.

168  Ombudsman Institution of Turkey, ‘2020 Six Month Report’ (July 2020), 37.

169  Ombudsman Institution of Turkey, ‘2020 Six Month Report’ (July 2020), 37.

171  Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey, ‘The Institution and its Operations During Covid-19’ (accessed 30 June 2021).

172  See V Aslan, ‘Turkey’s Struggle Against Covid-19 and the New Reign-by-Administrative-Act’ IACL-IADC Blog (Online, 16 July 2020).

174  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Additional Covid-19 Measures’ (4 November 2020); Ministry of the Interior, ‘Restrictions on Those Aged 65 in Ankara and Istanbul’ (10 November 2020); Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Covid-19 Measures’ (11 November 2020); Ministry of the Interior, ‘New Covid-19 Measures’ (18 November 2020); Ministry of Education, ‘Suspension of Face-to-Face Education’ (19 November 2020); Ministry of the Interior, ‘A Circular on Postponing Events with Wide Participation was Sent to 81 Provincial Governorship’ (27 November 2020).

175  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Controlled Normalization Process in Combating Covid-19’ (2 March 2021); see also Ministry of the Interior, ‘Frequently Asked Questions on Controlled Normalization’ (3 March 2021).

176  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Partial Lockdown Circular Sent to 81 Provincial Governorship’ (14 April 2021); Ministry of the Interior, ‘Total Lockdown Circular Was Sent To 81 Provincial Governorships’ (26 April 2021).

177  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Measures Regarding Normalization’ (1 June 2021).

178  See the official websites of the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Health.

179  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘Frequently Asked Questions on Controlled Normalization’ (3 March 2021).

180  Ministry of Health, ‘We Request Our Citizens Returning From Abroad To Follow The 14-Day Rule’ (5 March 2020).

181  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Curfew for Those 65 and Above and Those with Chronic Diseases’ (21 March 2020).

182  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Curfew for Those 65 and Above and Those with Chronic Diseases’ (22 March 2020).

183  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Province Entry/Exit Rules and Age Limitation’ (3 April 2020).

184  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Curfew exceptions for those between 18 to 20’ (5 April 2020).

185  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Two-day Curfew’ (10 April 2020).

186  See E Erkoyun, ‘Erdogan rejects Turkish minister's resignation after coronavirus lockdown criticism’ Reuters (Online, 12 April 2020).

187  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Curfew in 24 provinces between the dates of 8 May 2020-10 May 2020’ (5 May 2020).

189  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Travel Documents of Tea Producers Was Sent to 81 Provincial Governorship’ (12 May 2020).

191  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Restrictions on Those Aged 65 in Ankara and Istanbul’ (10 November 2020).

192  Ministry of the Interior, ‘New Restrictions and Measures as Part of the Covid-19 Response’ (1 December 2020).

194  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Controlled Normalization in the Fight with Covid-19’ (2 March 2021).

196  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Partial Lockdown Circular Sent to 81 Provincial Governorships’ (14 April 2021).

197  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Total Lockdown Circular Was Sent To 81 Provincial Governorships’ (26 April 2021).

198  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘Total Lockdown Circular Was Sent To 81 Provincial Governorships’ (26 April 2021).

199  B Çalık Göçümlü, ‘Minister Koca: All passenger flights from/to Italy, South Korea and Iraq are suspended’ AA (Online, 29 February 2020).

200  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular to 81 Provincial Governorships and Border Administrative Authorities’ (13 March 2020).

202  Turkish Airlines, ‘Travel permit regulations of countries’ (accessed 30 June 2021).

203  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Intercity Bus Transport as Part of the Covid-19 Measures’ (28 March 2020); Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Intercity Airline and Bus Transport as Part of the Covid-19 Measures’ (28 March 2020).

204  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Province Entry/Exit Rules and Age Limitation’ (3 April 2020).

205  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Exceptions on Vehicle Entry/Exit Restrictions to Provinces’ (4 April 2020).

207  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Partial Lockdown Circular Sent to 81 Provincial Governorships’ (14 April 2021).

208  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Total Lockdown Circular Was Sent To 81 Provincial Governorships’ (26 April 2021).

209  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Curfew for Those 65 and Above and Those with Chronic Diseases’ (21 March 2020).

213  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Wedding Measures to 81 Provincial Governorships’ (13 June 2020).

214  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Measures to be Applied in Wedding Ceremonies’ (24 June 2020).

215  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Wedding Ceremonies, Henna Nights and Engagement Ceremonies to 14 Provinces’ (25 August 2020).

216  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Wedding Ceremonies, Henna Nights and Engagement Ceremonies to 81 Provinces’ (2 September 2020).

217  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Our Ministry Warns 81 Provincial Governorship for Military Service Celebrations’ (21 March 2020).

218  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Meetings As Part of the Covid-19 Response’ (26 March 2020).

219  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Ramadan Measures in Combating Covid-19’ (22 April 2020).

220  Ministry of the Interior, ‘An Additional Covid-19 Circular Was Sent to 81 Provinces’ (2 October 2020).

222  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Covid-19 Measures’ (11 November 2020).

223  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Measures in Streets, Boulevards, Squares to 81 Provinces’ (30 December 2020).

224  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Controlled Normalization in the Fight With Covid-19’ (2 March 2021).

225  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Partial Lockdown Circular Sent to 81 Provincial Governorships’ (14 April 2021); Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Measures Regarding Gradual Normalization’ (16 May 2021).

226  Ministry of Health, ‘Coronavirus Summit Held at the Presidential Complex’ (13 March 2020).

228  Ministry of Education, ‘Face-to-face Education Started in Kindergarten and for 1st Grade Primary Schoolers’ (21 September 2020).

229  Ministry of Education, ‘The Third Stage in Face-To-Face Education in Schools Begin on Monday, November 2’ (23 October 2020).

230  Ministry of Education, ‘Suspension of Face-to-Face Education’ (19 November 2020).

231  Ministry of Education, ‘Press Release’ (13 April 2020).

232  Ministry of Education, ‘Press statement’ (16 May 2021).

233  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Covid-19 Measures Has Been Sent to 81 Province’ (15 March 2020).

234  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Another Additional Circular on Covid-19 Measures Has Been Sent to 81 Provinces’ (16 March 2020).

235  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Another Additional Circular on Covid-19 Measures Has Been Sent to 81 Provinces’ (21 March 2020).

236  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Diners as Part of the Covid-19 Measures’ (21 March 2020).

238  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on the Opening of Barbers/Beauty Salons/Hairdressers’ (6 May 2020).

239  See Directorate of Religious Affairs, Presidency of the Supreme Council of Religious Affairs, ‘Suspension of Friday Prayer and Collective Prayers Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic’ (accessed 30 June 2021).

241  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Collective Worship in Mosques and Masjids’ (22 May 2020).

245  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Additional Covid-19 Measures’ (4 November 2020).

246  Ministry of the Interior, ‘New Covid-19 Measures’ (18 November 2020).

247  Ministry of the Interior, ‘New Restrictions and Measures as Part of the Covid-19 Response’ (1 December 2020).

248  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Controlled Normalization Process in Combating Covid-19’ (2 March 2021).

251  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Partial Lockdown Circular Sent to 81 Provincial Governorships’ (14 April 2021).

252  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Supermarkets As Part of the Covid-19 Response’ (24 March 2020).

253  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Marketplaces As Part of the Covid-19 Response’ (27 March 2020).

254  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Province Entry/Exit Rules and Age Limitation’ (3 April 2020).

255  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on the Opening of Barbers/Beauty Salons/Hairdressers’ (6 May 2020).

257  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Hygiene Measures in Commercial Taxis to 81 Provinces’ (8 May 2020).

259  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Province Entry/Exit Rules and Age Limitation’ (3 April 2020).

260  President Erdoğan: Mask sales are prohibited’ TRT News (Online, 6 April 2020).

261  Ministry of Commerce, ‘Press Release Regarding the Sale of Surgical Masks’ (7 May 2020).

262  O Onur Gemici, ‘Those who do not comply with the obligation to wear masks will be fined’ AA (Online, 19 June 2020).

263  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Covid-19 Measures Has Been Sent to 81 Provincial Governorships’ (8 September 2020).

264  Ministry of Health, ‘Minister Koca Announced New Measures Taken Against Coronavirus’ (7 February 2020).

265  Ministry of Health, ‘Minister Koca Visited Citizens whose Quarantine Period Expired’ (14 February 2020); Ministry of Health, ‘Turkish Citizens from Iran Taken into Quarantine in Ankara’ (26 February 2020).

266  Ministry of Health, ‘The Problem is Global, Our Struggle is National’ (9 March 2020).

267  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular to 81 Provincial Governorships and Border Administrative Authorities’ (13 March 2020).

269  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Intercity Bus Transport as Part of the Covid-19 Measures’ (28 March 2020).

270  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Press Release’ (30 March 2020).

271  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Quarantine Practices as of 8 April’ (8 April 2020); for similar declarations in the following days, see Ministry of the Interior, ‘The 4-Day Curfew in 31 Provinces Ends as of April 26, 24.00’; Ministry of the Interior, ‘Curfew in 15 Provinces Ends on 19 May, 24:00’ (19 May 2020); Ministry of the Interior, ‘The 4-Day Curfew in 81 Provinces Ends on 26 May, 24.00’ (26 May 2020); Ministry of the Interior, ‘The Fight against Coronavirus’ (7 August 2020).

272  Turkish Criminal Code (26 September 2004).

273  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Dormitory Requirement for Those Escaping from Isolation’ (11 September 2020).

276  It has become difficult to get a Covid-19 testDW (Online, 26 June 2020).

277  Presidential Order (13 April 2020).

278  See B McKernan and G Saraçoğlu, ‘Covid ‘vaccination persuasion’ teams reap rewards in Turkey’ The Guardian (Online, 27 April 2021).

279  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on Measures Regarding Gradual Normalization’ (16 May 2021).

280  Ministry of Health, ‘Covid-19 Vaccination Information Platform’ (accessed 30 June 2021).

281  Ministry of Health, ‘Filiation and Isolation Tracking System’ (2 October 2020).

282  Ministry of Health, ‘Life Fits Home’ (accessed 20 June 2021).

283  Ministry of Health, ‘Life Fits Home, Safe Area, HES Code, Denouncement’ (accessed 30 June 2021), 2.

284  Ministry of Health, ‘Life Fits Home, Safe Area, HES Code, Denouncement’ (accessed 30 June 2021), 4; see also Ministry of Health, ‘Life Fits Home, HES Code’ (accessed 30 June 2021).

285  Ministry of Health, ‘Life Fits Home, HES Code’ (accessed 30 June 2021).

286  Ministry of Health, ‘Life Fits Home, Safe Area, HES Code, Denouncement’ (accessed 30 June 2021), 8.

287  Ministry of Health, ‘HES Code implementation protocol signed’ (29 September 2020).

288  Ministry of the Interior, ‘HES Application Installed’ (23 September 2020).

289  Ministry of Health, ‘Integration Document on HES Code Inquiry by Enterprises’ (accessed 30 June 2021).

290  Ministry of the Interior, ‘2 Circulars on HES Code to 81 Provincial Governorships’ (30 September 2020).

291  Ministry of the Interior, ‘2 Circulars on HES Code to 81 Provincial Governorships’ (30 September 2020).

292  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circulars on Measures and Restrictions as Part of the Covid-19 Response’ (1 December 2020).

295  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘Partial Lockdown Circular Sent to 81 Provincial Governorships’ (14 April 2021).

296  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘2-Day Curfew’ (10 April 2020); Ministry of the Interior, ‘Curfew Within 31 Provinces Between 17-19 April’; Ministry of the Interior, ‘New Covid-19 Measures’ (18 November 2020).

297  See eg Ministry of Family and Social Services, ‘Measures to be Taken due to the Covid-19 Outbreak in Nursing Homes and Elderly Care Centres (22 November 2020).

298  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Supermarkets As Part of the Covid-19 Response’ (24 March 2020).

299  See eg Ministry of the Interior, ‘Travel Restriction in 15 Provinces Will End as of May 31, 24.00’ (30 May 2020); Ministry of the Interior, ‘Curfew Restriction to be Applied in 81 Provinces within the Scope of YKS Measures’ (26 June 2020); Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Covid-19 Sent to 81 Provincial Governorships’ (18 October 2020).

301  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Additional Circular on Covid-19 Measures Sent to 81 Provincial Governorships’ (4 August 2020).

302  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Press Release’ (16 March 2020).

303  Turkish Criminal Code (26 September 2004).

304  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Circular on HES Code Obligation in Intercity Buses to 81 Provinces’ (12 September 2020); HES Code-free Travel is Subject to Penalty’ CNN Türk (Online, 16 September 2020).

306  See eg K Gözler, ‘Korona Virüs Salgınıyla Mücadele İçin Alınan Tedbirler Hukuka Uygun mu?’ Anayasa (Online, 5 July 2020); S Esen, ‘Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Constitutional Rights in Turkey’ in J M A Serna de la Garza (Coordinator), COVID-19 and Constitutional Law (IACL-AIDC E-Book 2020); S Ünver, ‘Fighting COVID-19 – Legal Powers, Risks and the Rule of Law: Turkey’ Verfassungsblog (Online, 15 April 2020); T Şirin, ‘Tehlikeli Salgın Hastalıklarla Anayasal Mücadeleye Giriş’ (2020) 9(17) Anayasa Hukuku Dergisi 43; V Aslan, ‘Turkey’s Struggle Against COVID-19 and the New Reign-by-Administrative-Act’ IACL-IADC Blog (Online, 16 July 2020).

307  Ministry of the Interior, ‘3-Day Curfew in 31 Provinces Ends on 3 May, 24.00’ (3 May 2020).

308  Ministry of the Interior, ‘2-Day Curfew in 24 Provinces Ends on 10 May, 24.00’ (10 May 2020).

309  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Safety and Peace Operation Implemented Throughout Turkey’ (16 May 2020).

310  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Nationwide Supervision Concerning Covid-19 Measures Conducted on 6 November’ (8 November 2020).

311  Ministry of the Interior, ‘Press Release’ (18 January 2021).