In recent days, there has been a great stir among the population in Turkey about a campaign by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to attract foreign tourists to the country.

In a video you can see employees from the sector with mouth masks on which you can read: 'Enjoy, I have been vaccinated'.

That has gone wrong in a country where the vaccination campaign is threatening to run out of steam.

Turkey is invariably in the top ten of most visited holiday countries by the Dutch.

In 2019, 1.2 million fellow countrymen went there.

The corona crisis has put passenger numbers under considerable pressure.

While Turkey welcomed 52 million tourists in 2019, there were only 12.7 million last year.

Tourism is an important source of income for the economically troubled country, so it is very important for the Ankara government not to go through another year.

An attempt by the Ministry of Tourism to get Turkey back on the map does not seem like a step in the right direction for the time being.

The video with the offending masks has since been taken offline, but the damage seems to have been done.

Yellow mouth mask as ear tag

The problems started in April, when Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that Turkey would face a vaccine shortage.

Shortly afterwards, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu announced that anyone who might come into contact with tourists would be vaccinated.

This preferential treatment was not well received by the population, as was the announcement that tourists would be exempt from the lockdown rules and curfew.

On social media, Turks wondered if they had become second-class citizens in their own country.

Still others jokingly suggested giving vaccinees, just like street dogs (these are labeled in the ear as soon as they are neutered, ed.), A yellow ear tag, so that tourists know they are 'safe'.

When the Ministry of Culture and Tourism then came up with yellow mouth masks in its video, on which the message 'Enjoy, I am vaccinated' could be read, many thought of a joke.

When it turned out to be serious, the indignation that followed was so fierce that the video disappeared after a few hours, but not before it was already shared everywhere.

Video

Turistlerin görebileceği ... Turizm Bakanlığı'nın Türkiye tanıtım hesabında turizm çalışanlarının "aşılıyım" baskılı maske takacağına dair görüntüler içıeren bir reklam yayaynland.

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Avatar Author KoronaReport Moment of places 18: 14-13 May 2021

Ministry action is 'shameless'

"We have a ministry that insults its own population," said opposition leader Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu in response to the video.

Meral Aksener of the IYI party called the ministry's campaign "shameless."

"The country cannot be ruled by insulting and fooling its own people," added Ali Babacan of the DEVA party.

Babacan is a former AKP member of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who, like Babacan, has left the AKP, called for the resignation of the responsible minister, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy.

The president himself has not yet responded to the uproar.

On Friday he did ask for the blessing of everyone who is struggling financially, as the government is working hard to provide support, according to Erdogan.

That call also went wrong.

Real risk of vaccine shortages

As energetic as the vaccination campaign started in Turkey, it is not proceeding smoothly at the moment.

In a population of about 85 million people, 14.9 million Turks have now received their first doses, while another 10.8 million people have had a series of two injections.

According to the professional association for doctors TTB, 1 to 2 million injections per day can be administered in Turkey, but due to supply problems the rate fluctuates around 200,000 injections per day.

Turkey has only received 25 million doses of the promised 100 million injections from China's Sinovac.

In addition, Turkey has received 4 million doses of the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine.

Last week, a new shipment of Sinovac arrived after much delay.

This was desperately needed, as there are an estimated 3 million injections left in the whole of Turkey. The first delivery of the Sputnik V vaccine should arrive this month. According to Minister Koca, 50 million doses will be delivered in the next six months.