The Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs published the Circular on Gradual Normalisation Measures ("Circular"), which sets out the details of Turkey's strategy in the fight against COVID-19 as of 1 July 2021.
Curfews and interprovincial transportation restrictions:
All curfews (both on weekends and weekdays) and interprovincial transportation restrictions will be suspended as of 1 July 2021 at 05:00.
Provided that the fundamental principles of tackling the pandemic (e.g. cleanliness, usage of medical masks, and social distancing) and measures set forth by the Ministry of Health in the Pandemic Management and Working Guideline for each type of work were actively implemented, the following provisions apply;
- All businesses and workplaces (including movie theaters) whose activities were suspended due to the prior restrictions will be allowed to re-activate as of 1 July 2021;
- The restrictions related to the number of people who are allowed at one table in the food and beverage industry will be lifted;
- Customers of businesses such as coffee houses will be allowed to play card games and similar games;
- All workplaces will be allowed to operate between the working hours determined by their activity permission;
- All businesses that host music broadcasting, including live concerts without limitations, will be allowed to broadcast music until midnight;
- Additional restrictions implemented to parks, gardens, camping sites, and picnic areas will be lifted;
- Serving smoke water pipes, shishas, hookahs, etc. will not be allowed until otherwise announced.
Meetings, gatherings, events, and weddings:
All well-attended meetings of organisations such as civil society organisations, syndicates, professional organisations with public-institution status and unions, including general assembly meetings, will be allowed to go on if at least four square metres per person is provided in open areas and at least six square metres per person is provided in closed areas.
Without prejudice to the personal space rule mentioned above, weddings and similar ceremonies will be allowed without any restrictions regarding the number of participants. The same provision will be applied to concerts, festivals, youth camps, etc.
Without prejudice to the rules determined with the Pandemic Management and Working Guideline and the fundamental principles of tackling the pandemic, all restrictions on public transportation will be lifted, including the passenger-number restrictions and public transportation bans for certain age groups.
Provided that the Pandemic Management and Working Guideline and the fundamental principles of tackling the pandemic are implemented and measures are taken to prevent the formation of dense crowds, all restrictions on accommodation facilities and entertainment services for such facilities will be lifted.
Public working hours:
The implementation of exceptional working hours will be lifted in all public institutions and all public institutions will operate within normal working hours.
The Circular relieves the conditions set forth for entering Turkey from abroad, but the Turkish Ministry of Internal Affairs later announced further details on entering Turkey after 1 July 2021 to avoid new variants. These new provisions include:
People who arrive in Turkey from the UK, Iran, Egypt, and Singapore must submit a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.
The compulsory quarantine period for people arriving to Turkey from Pakistan or Afghanistan, and for people who visited these countries 14 days before their arrival, will be reduced to ten days. Furthermore, the quarantine measure will be terminated if the PCR test result – to be made at the end of the seventh day of the quarantine – is negative. If the test result is positive, the Pandemic Management and Working Guideline of the Ministry of Health will be applied.
Arrivals to Turkey from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal, or Sri Lanka are suspended until further notice. Passengers traveling from these countries may transit to other countries without entering Turkey. However, people who visited said countries 14 days earlier and submitted a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to their arrival will be allowed to enter Turkey if they agree to stay in compulsory quarantine for 14 days in locations to be determined by the governorships. The quarantine measure will not be terminated if the PCR test result to be made at the end of the 14th day of the quarantine is positive.
People who arrive in Turkey from countries other than the countries mentioned above will not be required to present a negative PCR or a rapid antigen test if they provide official documentation proving that they were vaccinated at least 14 days before the arrival or that they were contaminated with COVID-19 during the past six months starting from the 28th day after their first positive PCR test. If documentation attesting to this cannot be presented, a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to the arrival or a negative antigen test taken within 48 hours prior to the arrival will be required. However, Turkish citizens living in abroad will be allowed to enter Turkey from railway or highway border check points only in Edirne or Kırklareli by filling out a form specifying their connecting information.
Passengers are subject to PCR testing on the basis of providing samples upon arrival. These passengers will be allowed to proceed to their final destination after the test samples are taken. If the test results are positive, they will be treated according to the Pandemic Management and Working Guideline of the Ministry of Health: they and other persons in close contact with them will be quarantined for 14 days.
For more information on the Circular and the gradual normalisation of Turkey, contact your regular CMS consultant or local CMS expert: Dr Döne Yalçın.