As a measure to stem the spread of COVID-19, Turkey will have a nationwide curfew spanning the traditional New Year's holiday, from Dec. 31 to early Jan. 4, the president announced on Monday.
In addition to ongoing public health measures, the holiday lockdown will last from 9 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 5 a.m. on Jan. 4, Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters after a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara.
"We have started to see the positive effects of the restrictions and other measures," he said, stating this was thanks to the “public sacrifice.”
On the economic effects of the pandemic, Erdogan stressed that the Turkish economy stands ready to face down tough tests, to navigate various scenarios, and to benefit from emerging opportunities.
Turkey will continue its reform program to improve the investment climate and address investors' doubts, he added.
As of Monday, Turkey registered a total of 16,646 deaths due to the coronavirus, while over 1.63 million people have recovered from the disease. Currently, there are over 1.86 million confirmed cases in the country.
The virus has claimed more than 1.61 million lives in 191 countries and regions since first being detected in Wuhan, China last December, according to the US’ Johns Hopkins University.
Over 72.44 million people have been infected with the virus and more than 47.4 million have recovered from the disease.
'Sanctions rhetoric is regrettable'
Erdogan also hit back at rising talk of sanctions from the EU and US, calling it “regrettable.”
"Turkey is waiting for the EU to fulfill its promises on full membership, which have been delayed for years,” he said.
“We expect support from our NATO ally, the US, in our fight against terrorist groups and elements that have designs on our region, not sanctions," he added.
On Azerbaijan's recent victory over Armenia, he said the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh ushered in new era in Caucasus, with peace and cooperation to form the basis of a new status quo.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
New clashes erupted on Sept. 27 and ended with a Russian-brokered truce six weeks later.
Baku liberated several strategic cities and nearly 300 of its settlements and villages from Armenian occupation during this time.
Before this, about 20% of Azerbaijan's territory had been under illegal Armenian occupation for nearly three decades.