Istanbul, March 31, 2020

Dear Friends, Dear All,

Prejudice is also a disease. We are all driven by these prejudices to some degree. So, first of all, I’d like to state this letter is not political.

Many of us will unknowingly encounter and be affected by this virus; some to a greater and some to a lesser extent. In particular, some people from my generation will be able to change the world.

We need to take the necessary precautions, accept the results and focus on the real threat, which is: FEAR.

The modern world is governed by fear. Even the “most uncaring” people are sitting scared in their homes, looking to politicians for help. A thousand years ago, the famous physician and thinker Avicenna’s most significant epidemic advice, more important than staying at home or avoiding going to the mosque and so on, was to not be afraid.

Most of us are asking, “Why don’t we have a lockdown?” as we fear and blame the government.

If you know me, you also know that I spend most of my time abroad for business purposes and thus have many acquaintances in many countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany, China, France, Russia, the US and the UK. I am sure you have some friends there as well. Thank God, we have the internet. Ask someone from these countries and then look at Turkey. Which city had a total lockdown? Wuhan. Anywhere else? Russia had a week of “holiday,” and some parts of India. In addition, some districts had night curfews. That’s it.

What is the reason behind this?

(In the worst case scenario, we may lose 0.3 percent of our 80-million- population. Luckily, it looks like it will be even lower.)

What would happen if there was a total lockdown, meaning all production facilities and business shut down and life as we know it stopped?

The needs of the entire population, yes, 80 million people, would have to be met by the state. And once all businesses have been shut down, nothing will take off where we left it after two or three months. If the whole world stopped, like Bill Gates said, then there would be no problem, but otherwise, functioning economies will overtake ours. Exports alone will take ages to recuperate.

The collapse of the economy will bring greater and long-term devastation, along with higher casualty rates, in exchange for a short- term hospital vacancy.

Furthermore, the government does not have the financial means to take care of 80 million people. Even Germany, which is five times richer than us, has started printing money. The US is in a worse situation as they started by injecting $2.2 trillion directly into the market. In other words, they gave money to people to spend at Walmart. They printed 880 billion dollars during the 2008 crisis but managed to collect it quickly by offering long-term bonds, and kept inflation from rising. They do not have this option today. The US will face severe inflation.

On the Aid Campaign

Dear All,

You may not be aware of it, but the state aids two million of the poorest families directly (with coal, pasta and so on, which are mocked by some) through the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services and Social Assistance Foundation offices in each district.

The daily incomes of these families were destroyed in particular. These families are starving while we share videos and criticise them from the comforts of our homes. I am talking about families that have to subsist on crumbs. The proceeds from this campaign will go directly to these families (I believe the government’s mistake was not clearly explaining this).

This campaign was intended for those who “have the means.” If the government did not ask for donations, who do you think would pay for this? All of us… Because they would print money.

Everybody will pay for it due to the resulting inflation. The only alternative is, of course, long-term borrowing. I believe they are also working on this. They won’t make the mistake of turning down a special borrowing opportunity. Of course, they will take it.

We also have a little-known, not widely-practiced “zakat,” a form of charity tradition. The zakat providers were asked to give their zakats a month before Ramadan, because these charitable donations were to be delivered to these families through Social Assistance Foundations.

I’ve helped the foundation as much as I can, as a single source can distribute these resources to those in need better than individual foundations or hospitals. I also raised money from countries that have their own struggles such as Russia, Switzerland and the US.

Dear All,

Our culture cares for everyone regardless of their religion, language or race.

I’m talking to those that find it odd when we help others in need while we are barely getting by.

Although you might not embrace the culture of support and sharing, you may understand the concept of “benefit.”

Now consider this; Germany is supposedly doing the best, however, Luxembourg, Italy and Spain are in ruins. They cannot find nurses, let alone doctors. Everyone is trying to stay at home to ride out the pandemic.

Italians and Spaniards are furious and heartbroken in particular. Both at their respective governments and the European Union. Just today my Italian and Spanish friends (ordinary citizens) told me how happy they were with the speeches of our Minister of Foreign Affairs and President, and that the European Union no longer existed. We are witnessing the diplomatic benefit, which would not be received through thousands of planeloads of aid, with a single plane and that’s directly from the people.

Please summarise these points and spread them around.


We must not be driven by fear. These days will pass. The earth will become considerably poorer. Those who are doing okay will be affected less, those that are doing worse will be affected more, but everyone will become poorer.

My “fear” is the prospect of exchanging all of our freedom for health, food and, in some countries, safety. (I have to remind you of how lucky we are. Just ask your friends in Paris or Los Angeles).

What I fear is the world becoming more prone to totalitarian regimes after this epidemic.

This is a great time for solidarity. If only people helped each other… But as individuals, we still make a big deal for a planeload of supplies, which is nothing but sad. This is the reality. But let’s hope for the best.

Best Regards,

H. Cuneyd Zapsu