Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has launched a campaign to collect donations to support the financially vulnerable segments of society, pledging to give seven months of his own salary.
In an address to the nation after a weekly cabinet meeting via teleconference, the president on Monday urged businesspeople and philanthropists to join the “National Solidarity Campaign.”
He said Muslims could give their alms in Ramadan, the holy month of fasting between April 23 to May 23, to the campaign.
After his speech, dissidents tweeted extensively against the campaign, saying that the government must use taxes for financial support. They criticized the president for demanding even more from the people during this difficult time.
Erdoğan also gave details about government measures to assist the health sector during the overwhelming situation of an increasing number of patients, heralding the opening of a large hospital in İstanbul soon.
Turkey has more than 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and more than 150 people have died from the virus.
Still, the Turkish president said the government had sent medical aid to Italy and Spain.