ANKARA

Like others, Arab immigrants that include diaspora living in Turkey as well, are gasping to adopt a new life, secluded and cut off from their hurly-burly routines. But for many the lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has come a boon to rediscover social relations.

The unprecedented situation which made the world come to a grinding halt is proving a testing time for people to grapple with emotions, anger, and frustration.

Ahmed Ismailoglu, an assistant professor in the Turkish Haci Bayram Veli University said the lockdown period has made him sit with his family and rediscover social relations. “It has made families sit together and relive each other,” he said.

Finding an opportunity out of the crises, the professor said he has been catching up studies and researches that he used to postpone due to the vexing schedule. “It also made me see the positive side of digital media and benefits from it in terms of communication, research and online teaching, “he said.

For Egyptian student Asem Mansour, life has come to a standstill but has not completely paralyzed.

“Since the outbreak, I do not go out except for extreme necessities and surely do not leave without wearing a mask,” he said.

The Arab community has been used to not only handshakes but touching faces while showing affection. Like many other customs, COVID-19 has forced Arabs to abandon this practice.

“We have abandoned these practices and try to keep a one-meter distance from anyone, when outside,” he said.

Back at home, Mansour is careful not to touch anything, until he changes clothes and sanitizes his hands and face.

Arab residents are, however, hail measures taken by Turkey to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

“The professional measures are taken to deal with the crisis, the clear and frank actions of both the president and the health minister – who I see as a professional person with experience, strict and comforting tone at the same time, is the main reason for my reassurance,” said Ahmed Salama, an Ankara-based Arab resident.

According to official data, Turkey has one of the strongest medical care systems in the world, with at least 1500 government hospitals dotting its landscape and 40,000 intensive care units.

Salama noted that the country’s self-sufficiency model, manufacturing on its medical masks, hygienic and sterilizing equipment is remarkable. Unlike in other parts of the world, there was no shortage of food items in markets.

An online source for international statistics, worldometers.info, has shown that Turkey has conducted almost 600,000 tests, thus becoming one of the top testing countries in the world.

Read more: Turkey: Arab immigrants adjusting to new life to defeat pandemic