As experts continue to warn the Turkish government and the people about the dangers of anthrax after two neighbourhoods in İstanbul were put in quarantine with the suspicion of an anthrax breakout, it was revealed that the real danger was brought into the country by none other than the ruling AKP party.
Having issued a scandalous regulation about their adherent associations and foundations, the AKP left all the animals and livestock imported into the country by the associations in question, who “can raise funds without permission”, out of any inspection.
On August 20, right before the Islamic feast of sacrifice, the “Regulation about the Changes on the Regulation about the Organisation of the Veterinary Controls on the Entrance of Products into the Country” was issued on the Official Gazette, which stated that “until December 31, 2018, the rules and principles on the sanitary and technical conditions of the meat from animals such as sheep, goat, and cattle imported without any commercial purposes by associations and foundations who can raise funds without permission and who operate with the purpose of humanitarian aid and charity are determined by the Ministry [of Food, Agriculture, and Livestock].”
However, the “Notice about the Changes on the Notice as to the Definition of the Sanitary and Technical Conditions in Beef Import” issued the very same day leaves all the animals and livestock imported by these foundations out of all inspections.
Many experts in Turkey have been arguing for days that the biggest problem in the risk of anthrax is the lack of inspection, while the question of how many animals have been imported by the associations and foundations in question still remains unanswered.
Gökhan Günaydın, a member of the Party Council of the parliamentary main opposition CHP party, also underlines the increasing prevalence of animal diseases as a result of leaving veterinary services out of public services, turning it into a private business.
Asserting that the foot-and-mouth disease is seen in all 81 cities in Turkey, which threatens human lives as a zoonose disease as well as animals’ lives, Günaydın stated that “there is a general directorate of husbandry, but this has gone out of being a public service. Veterinarians working at public institutions do not provide this service – it is done by the private sector.”
In addition to the people’s fear of anthrax, the situation has been turned into a profiting opportunity by companies and the government: The price of red meat has been raised 5 Turkish Lira (75 cents) in one week, and another rise of 5 lira is expected.