Civil Society and Increasing Pressures After the Earthquake

Pressures on civil society after the earthquake mostly focused on non-governmental organizations working to meet the needs of the disaster victims and to re-establish the social order.

The Freedom Observer

The Freedom Observer

We monitor the ongoings of Turkiye in the fields of the rule of law, economics, civil society, and politics.

In order to meet the needs of the disaster victims quickly and effectively, non-governmental organizations took relatively quick and effective initiatives to meet the government's inadequate search and rescue efforts and urgent basic needs. However, news from the region shows that the work of non-governmental organizations is systematically blocked and terminated because it goes against the government's interests, especially the Government's 'advertisements'.[2]

However, non-governmental organizations continue to seek the rights of the victims and organize aid campaigns by organizing via WhatsApp and Twitter to continue defending the rights of the victims. In this process, with the end of the search and rescue efforts, non-governmental organizations started to work for the re-establishment of social life with the support they received from national and international sources.[3]

After the earthquake, we witnessed that civil society acted in a strong and organized way. In this process, a detailed aid and solidarity campaign was launched. Indeed, there were some difficulties with the coordination of aid; however, there was a period of intense cooperation and organization by the non-governmental organizations specialized in different subjects, such as those divided into categories such as animals, women, LGBT+, the elderly, the disabled, and students, so that no segment of the society would be left behind.[4]

With the onset of the election atmosphere, the number of political statements about whether we were prepared for an earthquake that might occur in Istanbul began to decrease. However, non-governmental organizations from Istanbul made a call by trying to keep their awareness on this issue high during the election process. The 27 non-governmental organizations called the Coordination of Neighborhood Associations and Solidarity Initiatives Against Disaster (AKİK) argued that "the current government and parliament do not show interest in the earthquake issue and the people of Istanbul are almost left to their fate". AKİK criticized the intellectuals and writers with the words, "Those who should lead the society, probably because they live in earthquake-proof houses, they were not 'out there' in the face of this great danger awaiting the people of Istanbul with an inexplicable selfishness." AKİK, stating that the Istanbul earthquake is approaching for three more years and people's desperation is increasing day by day, presented a list of suggestions for a solution to the earthquake.[5]

Recently, the distrust of Kızılay and AFAD has been increasing and it has been openly expressed in public. There are frequent reports in the press that AFAD has moved other non-governmental organizations away from the earthquake zone to protect its own reputation. According to these reports, tent cities previously established by other non-governmental organizations were abolished on the grounds that AFAD would establish new tent cities, and the victims were once again evacuated from these tents and forced to move to AFAD's new tents. Law enforcement officers put pressure on the volunteers by making statements such as "No water can be distributed here outside of AFAD, outside the state".

Due to the high amount of donations received after the earthquake, the AHBAP Association attracted the attention of government circles, and the association was criticized for not being transparent through social media trolls and tried to be discredited it with fake photos and news. Some of these criticisms need to be looked at closely. AHBAP is an organization that regularly collects large amounts of donations for different social problems and its last audit was carried out in 2018. Considering the information that AHBAP purchased tents and canned food from Kızılay after the earthquake, it can be discussed why AHBAP is not inspected more frequently. AHBAP obtained the materials for the aid with the donations it collects from a pro-government institution that has lost its capacity and its management has been largely corrupted, causing the donations to go to the government circles again. [6]

Finally, if the AKP government wins in the upcoming elections, non-governmental organizations that collect donations and organize aid campaigns after the earthquake may be subject to a new wave of control under Law No. 7262.

1 MevzuatNo=126&MevzuatTur=19&MevzuatTertip=5






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The Freedom Observer

The Freedom Observer

We monitor the ongoings of Turkiye in the fields of the rule of law, economics, civil society, and politics.





Istanbul earthquake




Freedom Observer #5

Can the Reconstruction of Cities be Arranged with the Presidential Decree of the State of Emergency?, Electoral Alliances, Record Current Account Deficit and Central Bank Reserve, Civil Society and Increasing Pressures After the Earthquake.

22 Mar 2023


The Freedom Observer

We monitor the ongoings of Turkiye in the fields of the rule of law, economics, civil society, and politics.