The Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) has decided to postpone the announcement of mortality figures for 2020, which are expected to shed light on the country’s actual coronavirus death toll.
TurkStat said the statistics were not yet ready; hence, the announcement of the mortality figures has been postponed. The institution would normally make the announcement on June 24.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Turkey in March 2020, there have been widespread doubts about the accuracy of the coronavirus statistics reported by the Health Ministry. Critics have said the ministry was reporting lower numbers of infection and death to mask the true scale of the pandemic in the country. Many family members of coronavirus victims have written on social media that coronavirus was not cited as the cause of the death on their loved ones’ death certificates although they died of COVID-19.
Some opposition party mayors also disputed the figures announced by the ministry as they revealed the daily coronavirus death toll in their respective provinces, which was sometimes close, sometimes higher than the total death toll reported by the ministry for the entire country.
According to TurkStat data in 2018, 426,449 people died in Turkey when the crude mortality rate was 5.2 per thousand, while this figure was 435,941 with a crude mortality rate of 5.3 per thousand in 2019.
Turkey’s population growth rate was 13.9 per thousand in 2019, while it fell to 5.5. per thousand in 2020 with 1,112,859 births. Turkey saw 1,183,652 births in 2019.
The sharp drop in the country’s population growth rate between 2019 and 2020 is associated with coronavirus deaths.
Although Turkey ranks fifth among countries with the highest number of coronavirus infections — 5.3 million infections as of June 22 — it ranks 19th with regards to its coronavirus death toll, which stood at 49,293 on June 22.
Turkey also has the lowest death toll among 18 countries that have reported more than 2 million coronavirus infections so far.
In Russia, where the total number of infections is close to that of Turkey, the coronavirus death toll stands at 130,895.