Travel restrictions were lifted from nine more provinces, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Monday, as part of Turkey’s normalization process now that the coronavirus crisis has been brought under control.
Announcing the decision at a national address after a Cabinet meeting, Erdoğan said the improving outlook of the COVID-19 outbreak allowed the government to ease restrictions placed on citizens’ daily lives.
According to the president, entry and exit from Adana, Diyarbakır, Mardin, Trabzon, Ordu, Denizli, Kahramanmaraş, Şanlıurfa and Tekirdağ were allowed once again. The country’s most populous cities, Istanbul and İzmir, as well as capital Ankara, remain under restrictions.
Ankara restricted travel from 31 provinces initially, barring any entry and exit by land, air and sea except for the movement of goods and public personnel on official duty. The restriction was first imposed on March 17 for 15 days and was later extended twice.
Antalya, Aydın, Erzurum, Hatay, Malatya, Mersin and Muğla were the first batch of provinces that had their travel restrictions lifted.
“I thank each and every one of our citizens for dutifully and respectfully complying with the rules. This bright outlook allowed us to ease restrictions placed during the outbreak in a controlled fashion. But as I have said before, our country, along with the rest of the world, has entered a new era where we need to learn to live with new rules. It is clear that the world still needs time to beat the coronavirus pandemic for good,” the president said.
Erdoğan’s warnings were the latest in a string of calls by authorities for citizens to not ease up on precautions as Turkey entered the normalization period. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca and experts on the country’s Coronavirus Science Board have repeatedly warned citizens that the easing of restrictions did not mean the threat of the virus was over, and any sign of a second wave of the outbreak would mean the restrictions would return.