The relatively high number of British Turks to die from COVID-19 has been sending shockwaves across the Turkish world.
With an estimated population of 500,000, the UK’s Turkish community is the fourth largest Turkish diaspora in Europe, behind Germany (4 million), France (1.2 million), and the Netherlands (600,000).
A comparison of the the deaths among Turks in Britain and Germany from COVID-19 gives perhaps the starkest indication of how effectively the two countries have been in containing the coronavirus pandemic.
Germany’s Turkish community – eight times larger than Britain’s – has lost 87 people to the killer virus, according to figures published by Hürriyet newspaper on Monday, 20 April.
In Britain, where the size of the Turkish diaspora stands at half-a-million, the death toll at the same point was 97.
The UK’s Turkish Cypriot community has been hardest, accounting for 77 of the 97 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
Government responses to the deadly disease, which has swept across the world since the beginning of the year, has been markedly different.
In Germany, official figures up to last weekend, 19 April, show a total of 145,185 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections and 4,586 deaths. The ratio of deaths is 69 per million. The country has invested in widespread testing.
Coronavirus data by country, 24 April 2020
Data up to Friday 24 April shows that the German authorities had tested 2,072,669 people for the virus, equating to 24,738 tests per one million Germans. Those diagnosed with the virus have been admitted into hospital far sooner than the UK.
During the same timeframe, coronavirus related deaths in the UK reached 16,509 – four times higher than Germany, as the country’s COVID-19 cases increased to 124,743. The ratio of deaths is 287 per million.
Britain, which has struggled to obtain a sufficient numbers of kits for mass testing, had only managed to test 612,031 people in the same period. The tests per one million stands at just 9,016.
In recent days, the UK has sought to significantly expand its testing regime. On Thursday, the government announced that “All essential workers in England and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus will now be able to get tested.”