Taksim Square’s flocks of resident pigeons, normally waddling around with full bellies thanks to cups of grains that children toss at them, swoop unhindered straight at the heads of the few passers-by, mostly policemen and media.
It feels more like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s horror thriller “The Birds” than one of Istanbul’s most crowded squares, normally teeming with Turks and tourists alike.
Then again, nothing about the impact Covid-19 is having across the globe is normal or familiar.
Last weekend, the Turkish government implemented a 48-hour curfew for 31 provinces, impacting three quarters of Turkey’s population.
And while critics of the government have been calling for these types of severe measures to curb the rise of Covid-19, the initial outcome was disastrous.
The curfew was announced just two hours before it was to go into effect – causing a buying panic in some areas as people flocked to grocery stores and bakeries with little regard for social distancing measures.
Social media was flooded with coronavirus dark humor: a husband caught in breach of the curfew fleeing the scene leaving his car and wife behind; a man who tries to dodge the penalty fee by saying he doesn’t speak Turkish, but the police figure out that he does.
Following the chaos around the curfew, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed the nation, arguing