Turkey Is Going Through Its Most Painful Days
Many provinces, especially Hatay and Kahramanmaraş, were almost destroyed. Official data show that more than 40 thousand people lost their lives and more than 100 thousand people were removed from the wreckage with injuries, although the work on the wreckage has not yet been completed. In terms of the number of people who lost their lives and property damage, Turkey experienced the greatest natural disaster in its history.
It should be noted that the biggest responsible for such dramatic losses are the politicians and administrators who did not do what should be done before and after the earthquake. Geologists, especially after the Elazig earthquake, stated that the Eastern Anatolian Fault line woke up from sleep and that preparations should be made against the earthquake at every opportunity. They stated that the earthquake resistance tests of the buildings should be carried out and that the risky houses should be determined immediately. Suffice it to claim that the government has not taken the necessary steps in this regard. Moreover, with the law known as zoning amnesty in 2019, legal legitimacy was provided to hundreds of thousands of illegal houses and increased the barriers to the conversion of risky houses. We are once again experiencing the consequences of policies that appeal to the short-term interests of politicians, such as zoning amnesty and construction-oriented economic growth.
It should be noted that the government did not perform well in terms of preparedness for natural disasters. Although the earthquake affected a wide area, the lack of logistics plans against such a devastating scenario caused many wrecks to be inaccessible in the first days or even the first week, and many people lost their lives. On the other hand, it is seen as a serious mistake that the Turkish Armed Military Forces (TSK), as a disciplined, durable, and sizeable manpower organized in almost every district, was not sent to the field in the first few days for rescue efforts and to maintain safety and security of the community. Obviously, the AKP government's civilization policies of disaster management and the AFAD's inability to bring its resources to the level of preparedness for major natural disasters are one of the main reasons for the destruction we are experiencing. It could have been estimated that the number of personnel of AFAD, including volunteers, was only 10 thousand, which would be insufficient for search and rescue efforts in a disaster where thousands of buildings were destroyed. On the other hand, it should be noted that the relevant institutions of the government had a serious coordination problem and this caused many people to lose their lives in the race against time.
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The Freedom Observer #3
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The Freedom Observer
We monitor the ongoings of Turkiye in the fields of the rule of law, economics, civil society, and politics.